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The Garden of Evening Mists

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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?

Publishers Weekly Review

Jul 30, 2012 – After having endured the miseries of a Japanese internment camp during WWII, 28-year-old Yun Ling Teoh makes her way in 1951 to the only Japanese garden in her native Malaya in a bid to convince its caretaker, Nakamura Aritomo, the former gardener for the Emperor of Japan, to establish a commemorative plot for her sister who died in the camp. Though he initially refuses, Aritomo agrees to mentor Yun Ling so that she might design the garden herself. While toiling away in Yugiri, the titular "garden of evening mists," Yun Ling grows fond of Aritomo, meanwhile recalling the horrors of the camp and the difficulties of the post-WWII "Emergency" in Malaya, a prolonged period of guerrilla war whose reach creeps closer by the day. Alternating between her time with Aritomo and a future wherein the now-aged Yun Ling, fighting a degenerative brain disease, desperately seeks to preserve her memories of the garden, Eng's newest (after The Gift of Rain) has the makings of a moving and unique historical, but the novel falls flat. There is a puzzling lack of pathos, and Eng's similar treatment of the tragic and the mundane serves to downplay rather than highlight the differences between the two. As a result, there is very little—other than Eng's moving atmospherics and attention to detail—to draw readers along.

Customer Reviews

Garden of the Mists

Beautifully written!

An exquisite novel.

Too few fiction has been written about the suffering of southeast asian people during Japanese occupation during WWII. The author manages to reflect the perspectives of common people across races & nationalities affected by wars, both between nations and within. Can't find his first book on iTunes though.

The Garden of Evening Mists

I loved this book. It is beautifully written. The story is intriguing, intellectual, and at times heartbreaking. But always engaging.

The Garden of Evening Mists
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Sep 04, 2012
  • Publisher: Weinstein Publishing
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings