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Maps of the Invisible World

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Map of the Invisible World, Tash Aw, book reviewIn Indonesia sometime in the late 1940s or maybe the 1950s, two young boys are abandoned by their mother and sent to an orphanage. The elder brother, Johan, is adopted by a wealthy Malaysian couple and grows up with adoptive siblings and a life of privilege. The younger boy, Adam, goes to live with a Dutch artist, Karl, a man so ashamed of his Dutch heritage that he forbids Adam to speak Dutch.

As the book Map of the Invisible World opens, Adam finds himself alone again after Karl is taken away by soldiers, anxious to rid the country of old ‘imperialists’.


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