Tan Twan Eng was born in Penang but lived in various places in Malaysia as a child. He studied law through the University of London and later worked as lawyer in one of Kuala Lumpur's most reputable law firms. He also has a first-dan ranking in aikido and is a strong proponent for the conservation of heritage buildings. His debut novel, The Gift of Rain was also long-listed for the ManBooker Prize. Tan Twan Eng lives in Cape Town where he is working on his third novel.
Like his debut, The Gift of Rain (2007), Malaysian author Tan's second novel is exquisite and, like Gift, arrives stateside with Booker Prize long-list approval. Recently retired judge Teoh Yun Ling has at most a year before she will lose all language and memory to aphasia. She leaves Kuala Lumpur for the highlands of central Malaysia and finds Yugiri-the book's eponymous Garden of Evening Mists-where she's agreed to meet a Japanese scholar writing a book about Yugiri's creator, Aritomo, the self-exiled former gardener to the emperor of Japan. Four decades earlier, in spite of being the single survivor of a horrific World War II Japanese prison, Yun Ling apprenticed herself to Aritomo, hoping to someday create the perfect garden to honor her murdered sister. Almost 38 years have passed since Aritomo disappeared, and now, threatened with erasure, Yun Ling begins to record his story as well as her own. VERDICT Tan triumphs again, entwining the redemptive power of storytelling with the search for elusive truth, all the while juxtaposing Japan's ignominious war history with glorious moments of Japanese art and philosophy. Readers in search of spectacular writing will not be disappointed.-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.