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The Garden of Evening Mists

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The Garden of Evening Mists , Tan Twan Eng, book reviewWhen Judge Teoh takes early retirement from work she’s hiding from her past, her present and even her future. She leaves Kuala Lumpur behind and takes to the hills, returning to a place where she knew emotional and physical extremes – great pain, peace and rebirth, the love of her life and friendships that persisted for decades. Returning to Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands, she goes to the place she loves – an isolated house with a beautiful but by now overgrown Japanese garden. To her friend Frederick, she reveals why she’s retired early and he persuades her to record her past whilst she still has the opportunity. Her story unfolds over 350 pages, seamlessly moving between past and present, through the times and places that made her who she is. It’s fiction but in no time at all I was so caught up in the story that she felt very much like a real woman telling a real story – all the more remarkable that the writer, Tan Twan Eng, is a man.

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