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Map of the Invisible World


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About the Author

Tash Aw was born in Taipei, in the Republic of China, and
brought up in Malaysia. He moved to England in his teens and
now lives in London. He is the author of 'The Harmony Silk Factory', which was the winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Novel and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and 'Map of the Invisible World'. His most recent novel, 'Five Star Billionaire', was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013.


This exquisite and haunting second novel from Aw (The Harmony Silk Factory) follows a vibrant cast searching for a sense of home during the political upheaval of 1960s Indonesia. After 16-year-old Adam de Willigen's adoptive father, Karl, is arrested by Indonesian soldiers, stranding Adam in their remote island village, he sets off for Jakarta to find him. Meanwhile, American ex-pat professor Margaret Bates is reminded of her teenage love for Karl after an embassy contact informs her he's been arrested. Soon, Adam arrives on Margaret's doorstep, and though practical, good-natured Margaret has never felt any maternal longings, the two bond instantly. Their search for Karl continues amid the riots and protests filling the city streets, but is interrupted when Adam is kidnapped by a Communist student with a sinister agenda. With the help of a friend, Margaret uses every ounce of diplomacy she has to find Karl and Adam and construct the family she's discovered she's wanted all along. Well-paced and gorgeously written, this epic story of loss and identity mirrors the struggles of the young Indonesia in which it takes place. (Jan.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

'Aw's first novel was a sublime piece of work that Doris Lessing called "unputdownable". She will find this one similarly mesmerising...This is absolutely stunning writing - Aw is emerging as a master storyteller.' The Times

'Aw's prose can be powerful and mesmerising in its sense of place...and psychological acuity. Haunting and memorable.' Maya Jaggi, Guardian

'Aw is a writer of great power and delicacy, as able to conjure stampeding crowds as the glow of fireflies.' Daily Mail

'Aw's sinuous writing vividly brings the turbulent social backdrop to life.' Sunday Times

'His prose is vividly lyrical; and one can almost feel the heat and smell the sweat of Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.' Independent

'Buoyant, limber, confidently told...a book embodying huge ambition, jostling with love, betrayal and guilt, all set poignantly and subtly against the politics of turmoil in post-colonial Indonesia circa 1964.' Scotsman

'An intelligent second novel...Aw's characteristic tone is a fine lyricism that, at best owes something to Michael Ondaatje or Anne Michaels...Aw has an exceptional talent for set pieces.' Sunday Telegraph

With President Sukarno's government in trouble, security forces are rounding up Dutch citizens for deportation, and there is widespread civil unrest (1964 is the "year of living dangerously" in Indonesia). Against this backdrop, teenaged Adam witnesses the police hustling off his adoptive father, a Dutch artist. A search of their house turns up documents linking his father with Margaret, an American professor at the university in Jakarta. Adam strikes out for this teeming metropolis, where he witnesses the brutal riots after Sukarno's Independence Day speech and celebrations and becomes involved with a colleague of Margaret's who turns out to be a radical revolutionary. Meanwhile, Margaret searches for Adam's father with the help of an American embassy attache who may be undercover CIA. Along the way, Aw (The Harmony Silk Factory) relates Adam's earlier life before his adoption and wrenching separation from his older brother. The novel as a whole unfolds at a leisurely pace, as the author paints a detailed picture of a multifaceted culture subject to the forces of Western imperialism and colonialism, third-world squalor, and political intrigue. Verdict An intricate and emotional work, this book may be a little too subtle to attract a wide audience. Recommended for literary readers and larger collections.-Jim Coan, SUNY Coll. Lib. at Oneonta Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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