The Garden of Evening Mists, By Tan Twan Eng

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Shortlisted for the Man Booker, and winner of the Man Asian prize, the Malaysian author's second novel merits its loud applause.

In the late-colonial Cameron Highlands of the 1950s, with Malaya scarred by memories of Japanese occupation and shaken by insurgency, a young woman lawyer befriends the Japanese gardener who, mysteriously, tends his lovely landscape in the hills.

War, art and memory join in a subtle story, notable for its ravishing prose, glorious sense of place, and mature alertness to the deceptive vistas of history.