Summary

Short listed for the Man Booker Prize 2012.
Malaya, 1949. After a career 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. There she meets the enigmatic Aritomo, an exiled former gardener of the Emperor of Japan. Yun Ling asks Aritomo to create a garden in memory of her sister. But the jungle holds secrets of its own…
©2012 Tan Twan Eng (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Sarah on 02-12-12

The best listen of 2012

This story works on so many levels. The writing is effortlessly evocative and graphically descriptive of the settings. It seamlessly weaves together a number of disparate themes; loss, war, gardening and tatooing and is thought provoking without hammering any message home. Characters leap from the page and live with you while you're not listening. I cannot rate the narration highly enough. Anna Bentinck is quite superb - she renders Far Eastern accents perfectly and even manages to convey the age of the main character at different stages of the story. Her tone and pace are perfect. If there was an audio oscar, she should receive it!

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Craig on 13-11-12

Wonderful text, narration problematic.

This lovely book is for the most part very well narrated.



However, there are a lot of characters where the narrator has decided to attempt accents. The Chinese and Japanese accents are eyebrow-raising, but the South African accent is shockingly bad, veering wildly between bad Dutch, bad New Zealand, some kind of weird growling and very occasionally a sentence that sounds approximately like a real South African accent.



This wouldn't be too bothersome except for the fact that there is a LOT of dialogue with the South African characters and it's incredibly distracting. Perhaps if you have never heard a South African accent before it won't bother you too much, but be warned - for anyone who knows the accent it may spoil your enjoyment of the book.



Apart from the accent problems the narrator has a beautiful voice and reads the text very well.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Nancy Luey on 01-12-16

I found this book boring

I read 80% of this book and could not read any more. I found it thoroughly boring. Lots of words but nothing actually happening.

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5 out of 5 stars
By ej on 25-02-15

A beautiful story and brilliant narration

An engrossing picturesque novel, superbly written. The narration is equally impressive. I am sure the story will remain with me forever..The brilliance of both the writing and the narration make for an unforgettable experience.

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