The Garden of Evening Mists
(This is going to be a long review because I have too many things to say. I just hope it's coherent.)
Have you ever sat in a dark room listening to an intricate piece of music (like Sergey Rachmaninoff's 'Tears') and experienced a deep-seated sadness when the last note died off??
Reading The Garden of Evening Mists felt like that.
This book took me on a journey. It was turbulent and tranquil, beautiful and ugly - all at the same time - and when it was over, I found myself sitting by the...more
If only the characters had as much life as the herons, tea plants, jungle, etc.. But no, none of the peripheral characters -- Magnus, Emily, the narrator's family, Fredrik, Ah Cheong -- are more than cardboard. As for the main characters, Aritomo -- the Japanese gardener, printmaker, tatoo ar...more
How odd, then, that I was so captivated by Garden of the Evening Mist, which is in many ways about the impermanence of individuals – the subjugation of self to become in closer alignment with nature and the flow of life – and the dominance of memory.
Our narrator is retired Supreme Court Judge Teoh Yun Ling, the physically maimed sole survivor of a brutal wartime...more
And here I am, this week, with the perfect example of just how pertinent those flippant remarks might be. Tan Twan Eng made a superb beginning. He made a superb ending. Things just got ever so slightly lumpy in the middle.
On a mountain...more
The most important sentence in the book, for me, is on Page 223(soft cover): "There was no need to talk much now - we understood each other's shades of silence."
And how precisely this sentence describes the events in the lives of all, but most importantly, the two main...more
I will dance to the music of words, on more time
This exquisitely written novel had me at hello. The dedication reads:
Sonder jou sou hierdie boek dubbel so lank en halfpad so goed wees. Mag jou eie mooi taal altyd gedy.
An unexpected ode to my beautiful language.
Even without the Afrikaner influence in this book, I would still have savored every word of The Garden of Evening Mists. For me this multilayered work of historical fiction focuses on themes of love and loss and on forgiving yourself and...more
Also, I'm not gonna lie: it is really slow-paced. I was 3/4 of the way through the book by the time I realized, "hey, nothing's really 'happened' yet." Some people might think it was boring or dull or something along those lines, but it's not. It is graceful and quiet.
The writing is absolutely gorgeous. I found myself rereading a lot of passages because they were so beautiful, it was like they had something more to say beyond just the meaning they delivered in the st...more
IF you decide you DO want to read it, do not pick the audiobook narrated by Anna Bentinck!!!!! The book is set in three different time periods. This is more confusing in an audiobook than in a paper book. I do NOT like the narration. There are Chinese and Japanese cha...more
Het boek is eigenlijk een soort realistische weergave van het...more
The book is a thoughtful, beautifully written exploration of art, brutality (the narrator lo...more
This opening line immediately draws the reader into a novel that combines a powerful tale of the Japanese occupation of Malaya and its aftermath with Zen and Taoist philosophy and their applications.
I found myself swept up into the world described within this exquisite novel. The language was haunting and lyrical and its story compelling. I read this as part of the Man Booker Prize Shadow Group an...more
A few years back, Tan Twan Eng's novel The Gift of Rain was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and I remember thinking how very not cool it was that it didn't go on to make the shortlist. That was the year that Anne Enright won for her The Gathering, which I didn't really care for; it was also the year I was introduced to the work of Mohsin Hamid (The Reluctant Fundame...more
The narrator is Yun Ling, torn between remembering and forgetting. She has spent most of her life trying to forget the cruelties of the Japanese Occupation of Malaya but is now desperate to bear witness to i...more
So writes Teoh Yun Ling, an old woman contemplating the passage of time in an ornamental garden high in the mountains of Malaysia. Her gloved, damaged hands, tired body and fading memory stand testament to a history that must be told carefully, grudgingly, to make its retelling bearable. As Yun Ling’s reserved creator, Tan Twan Eng barely intrudes at all, lending her story a natural intimac...more
Na 35 jaar keert Yun Lang terug naar Yugiri (avondnevel), naar het huis en de tuin waar zij veel mooie herinneringen aan heeft en wat ze heeft ge...more
Tan Twan Eng managed to create fragile human beings who have to survive in...more
This novel ticks many boxes: its themes are serious, its historic grounding solid, its structure careful, its old-fashioned ornamentalism respectable. The reason I found it impossible to love is the quality of the writing. There is no discernible personality in the dutiful, dull voice of Yun Ling, and non-events stalk us on every page: "for a timeless moment I looked straight into his eyes"; "For a long while he d...more
It is the 1980's, and newly retired judge Teoh Yun Ling returns to the highlands of Malaya, where nearly forty years before, she first met Nakamura Aritomo, former gardener to the emperor of Japan. Ten years on from that first meeting, and still bearing both the physical and mental scars of her time in a Japanese prisoner camp during the occupation there, she hopes to...more
|Literary Fiction ...: Discussion: The Garden of Evening Mists||85||131||Aug 02, 2013 09:34PM|
|BookerMarks: Discussion forum for The Garden of Evening Mists||11||54||Nov 07, 2012 09:43PM|
|BookerMarks: Know Your Booker!: The Garden of Evening Mists||2||19||Sep 19, 2012 04:10PM|
|BookerMarks: Second BookerMarks Review of The Garden of Evening Mists||3||15||Aug 21, 2012 03:25PM|
Tan Twan Eng was born in 1972 in Penang, but lived in various places in Malaysia as a child. He studied law at the University of London and later worked as lawyer in one of Kuala Lumpur’s most reputable law firms. He also has a first-dan ranking in aikido and is a strong proponent for the conservation of heritage buildings.
Tan Twan Eng talked about his background, his second novel, and his writing...more