The Garden of Evening Mists

A Novel

Tan, Twan Eng

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Garden of Evening Mists
"Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. 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 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 the gardener and his art, while all around them a communist guerilla war rages. But the Garden of Evening Mists remains a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?"--P. [4] of cover.

Publisher: New York, NY : Weinstein Books, c2012
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 1602861803
Branch Call Number: 823.92 23
Characteristics: 335 p. ;,23 cm
Alternate Title: Garden of evening mists


From the critics

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Jan 26, 2015

Loved this book, interesting story that I never knew about the POW's in Malaysia. If you are a lover of Japanese style gardens this is eye candy for the book lover!!

Jan 29, 2014
  • grannyat55 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Lovely story though I found it a little slow in the beginning pages. Interesting historical details of WW2 Malaysia.

Nov 19, 2013
  • nycskin rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed this book immensely. One of the best books of 2012. Please note that it is definitely a readers book.

Aug 22, 2013
  • ser_library rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

beautifully written and able to be raced through without losing too much detail

however i was confused by the timing (1940's, 1951, present day) and some peripheral characters seemed to appear suddenly

Jul 10, 2013
  • sjmack rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I had a hard time getting through this novel. While it is beautifully written and the imagery is among the best I’ve read, the pacing is very slow, I didn’t care about the main characters, and it tried to touch on too many topics. This novel won’t be for everyone.

Jun 18, 2013

recommended by Mary Steel

Jun 10, 2013
  • niceauntie rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A gentle and beautiful story.

May 31, 2013
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This Man Booker shortlisted novel weaves a magical tale about Yun Ling, the sole survivor of a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, who has recently retired as a judge in Kuala Lumpur. While writing her memoirs, she recalls her time spent as an apprentice of Aritomo, a famed former gardener of the Emperor of Japan. This beautifully-written book moves between loss and remembrance, hatred and love, while offering an excellent historical perspective of Malaya soon after the Second World War.

Mar 17, 2013
  • ssjhung rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The best book I had read in 2012. It was short-listed for Man Booker prize, was one of the best 2012 fictions by the Economist, and just won the Man Asian Literary prize.

Mar 06, 2013
  • Travel rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I was mesmerized by this book. Tan's elegant writing draws you into the garden - I felt as if I were actually there. Wonderful characterization of the protagonist, who is Malayan Straights Chinese, the Japanese gardener,and the Afrikaner tea plantation owner.

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Nov 20, 2012
  • becker rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

“Memory is like patches of sunlight in an overcast valley, shifting with the movement of the clouds. Now and then the light will fall on a particular point in time, illuminating it for a moment before the wind seals up the gap, and the world is in shadows again.”


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