Memories of books, which I hold responsible for first igniting my imagination and fascination with the place, inevitably also spring back. The most memorable are Lord Jim and Somerset Maugham’s Casuarina Tree and Other Stories but perhaps the latt...more
"Like the rain, I had brought tragedy into many people's lives but, more often than not, rain also brings relief, clarity, and renewal. It washes away our pain and prepares us for another day, and even another life. Now that I am old I find that the rains follow me and give me comfort, like the spirits of all the people I have ever known and loved."
Tan Twan Eng may not be a great prose stylist or even come close to being one. He may falter when it comes to subtlety and fail at inserting appropr...more
The Gift of Rain is a memoir, the journal of a young boy's coming of age amid the turmoil of WWII in Malaya, a lest-we-forget memorial to the victims of war crimes, a melancholy blues sung to a disappearing world : the exotic cauldron of races and cultures in colonial Penang that is being swallowed up by modern, impersonal highrise developments. I was ready to be enchanted right from the opening stanza, a quote from The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby :
I am fading away....more
When the Japanese occupy the island during World War II, concerns for personal and family safety lead to treachery and betrayal among t...more
I wept for the staggering grief in Phillip Hutton's life, and I applauded the young man who set forth to do the right thing, no matter how murky that might be.
In addition to the great story, the author did a stellar job with invoking the setting a...more
This book is clearly a mixed bag for me. It is in short about Philip, the son of a British father and Chinese mother, and his relationship with his Japanese sensei. It takes place in Malaya during WW2 when the Japanese occupied the country, sending the British running for their lives. The friendship between Philip and his older Japanese teacher, his sensei, begins before the occupation, before Philip ever became aware of the conflict of interests that will arise between the Malayan in...more
In 1939 sixteen-year-old Philip Hatton, who is half Chinese and half British, doesn't feel that he fits in anywhere. He becomes friends with another outsider Hayato Endo, who is a Japanese d...more
“…the great human capacity for choosing not to see.”
“Do not let your ties to the past – or fear of the future – direct the course of your life, becaus...more
Lots of description, but it's lush and luminous and evokes a sensuous sense of place. I enjoyed the characterizations (especially of the narrator). Philip Hutton is a sympathetic character, as he is torn between two ways of looking at, and living, life: accepting our non-control, and recognizing that we make choices. I was gl...more
When the novel opens a surprise visit from a stranger forces Philip Hutton to look back on the changes that over took his life fifty years earlier when he was a young man. It w...more
The writing was outstanding - both engaging and clear. The character development was excellent allowing readers to question the actions of the characters o...more
A beautifully written book- a historical fiction novel set in Malaysia in WW II with great character development and exploration of their intertwining destinies. Not a light read by any means, but I couldn't put it down after getting a quarter of the way through.
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