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Publisher's Summary

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?
©2012 Tan Twan Eng (P)2012 W.F. Howes
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Susan Gardner Bowers on 03-11-13

The best

Oh. My. Goodness. Such a memorable book: The Garden of Evening Mists, by Tan Twan Eng. A marvelous story, set in Malaya (Malaysia) during the years following WWII, but with lots of flashbacks to the Japanese occupation. The author is a meticulous wordsmith with the ability to use metaphors that took my breath away, but without being overwritten. The story is, well, sprawling, and with its threads tightly braided. It's a mystery (actually several), an exploration of Japanese gardening, the history of tattoos in the Orient, tea - its growing and drinking....and more. Be ye not put off; for me it was so worth the time. And one of the very few books I wanted to read again, right away, to parse out all the nuances, clues and allusions. By the same author: The Gift of Rain, which I also enjoyed immensely.

This is also the most astonishing narration I've heard. The accents!

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28 of 29 people found this review helpful

By Catherine on 04-24-13

Lyrical writing, fascinating story

I loved the beauty of the writing in this book. The attention to detail in the prose--the lyrical descriptions and wonderfully imaginative word choice made for a very stimulating and artistic read, in keeping with the major theme of the philosophy and creation of a Japanese garden. In addition there is a compelling story of an interesting protagonist set during and after WWII in what is now Malaysia.
I recommend this highly.

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15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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