The Garden of Evening Mists
Published by Myrmidon
SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2012
WINNER OF THE MAN ASIAN LITERARY PRIZE 2012
WINNER OF THE WALTER SCOTT PRIZE FOR BEST HISTORICAL NOVEL 2013
This is the second novel from Tan Twan Eng, acclaimed writer of The Gift of Rain – over 60,000 copies sold. The Garden of Evening Mists has the same sumptuous style and exotic imagery so beloved by readers and critics alike, explores the universal themes of memory, hatred and forgiveness and reveals Malaysia’s turbulent road to independence: a time of insurrection, uncertainty and terror.
Malaya, 1949. After studying law at Cambrige and time spent helping to prosecute Japanese war criminals, Yun Ling Teoh, herself the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle fringed plantations of Northern Malaya where she grew up as a child. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the Emperor of Japan.
Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in Kuala Lumpur, in memory of her sister who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses, but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice ‘until the monsoon comes’. Then she can design a garden for herself. As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to her sensei and his art while, outside the garden, the threat of murder and kidnapping from the guerrillas of the jungle hinterland increases with each passing day.
But the Garden of Evening Mists is also a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? Why is it that Yun Ling’s friend and host Magnus Praetorius, seems to almost immune from the depredations of the Communists? What is the legend of ‘Yamashita’s Gold’ and does it have any basis in fact? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?