The Harmony Silk Factory

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9780007182046: The Harmony Silk Factory

A brilliant novel from a genuinely exciting new voice in British fiction. A novel for anyone who enjoyed The English Patient. Set in Malaysia in the 1930s and 40s, with the rumbling of the Second World War in the background and the Japanese about to invade, The Harmony Silk Factory is the story of four people: Johnny, an infamous Chinaman -- a salesman, a fraudster, possibly a murderer -- whose shop house, The Harmony Silk Factory, he uses as a front for his illegal businesses; Snow Soong, the beautiful daughter of one of the Kinta Valley's most prominent families, who dies giving birth to one of the novel's narrators; Kunichika, a Japanese officer who loves Snow too; and an Englishman, Peter Wormwood, who went to Malaysia like many English but never came back, who also loved Snow to the end of his life. A journey the four of them take into the jungle has a devastating effect on all of them, and brilliantly exposes the cultural tensions of the era. Haunting, highly original, The Harmony Silk Factory is suspenseful to the last page.

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About the Author:

Tash Aw is a recent graduate of UEA. He is Malaysian by birth but now lives in London. This is his first novel.

From Publishers Weekly:

Aw slices his first novel into three segments, wherein three characters dissect the nature of Johnny Lim, a controversial figure in 1940s Malaysia. Depending on the teller, Johnny was a Communist leader, an informer for the Japanese, a dangerous black-market trader, a working-class Chinese man too in awe of his aristocratic wife to have sex with her, or a loyal friend. Long after Johnny's death, we hear these conflicting accounts from his grown son, Jasper; his wife, Snow (through the lens of her 1941 diary); and his English expatriate friend, Peter Wormwood. The chief benefit of this structural trick is to make palpable the limitations of each character's perspective, and that's no mean feat. But Aw's prose, though often witty and taut, is not equally convincing in all its guises. Jasper is the typical alienated son who burns to discover all the crimes his father committed; this also makes him the typical unreliable narrator (when his father kills a mosquito that had bitten him, Jasper cites this as proof of an innate "streak of malice"). When Snow takes over, Johnny suddenly resembles a more ordinary man, while she—adored by her son, whose birth caused her death—reveals herself to be a fallible character and an unfaithful wife. The most boisterous and enjoyable thread of this story belongs to Peter, with whose chipper English patter Aw, oddly enough, seems most at home.
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Aw, Tash
Published by Fourth Estate, London (2005)
ISBN 10: 000718204X ISBN 13: 9780007182046
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
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B-Line Books
(Amherst, NS, Canada)
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Book Description Fourth Estate, London, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. New book, unmarked, in crisp DJ. ; 1.42 x 9.21 x 6.22 Inches; 362 pages; Conrad, Maugham, and Burgess have shaped our perceptions of Malaysia. Now, with The Harmony Silk Factory, we have an authentic Malaysian voice that remaps this literary landscape. Through his examination of a mysterious and larger than life character-hero or traitor?-Tash Aw gives us an exquisitely written look into another culture at a moment of crisis. Bookseller Inventory # 23013

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Aw, Tash
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ISBN 10: 000718204X ISBN 13: 9780007182046
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Book Description Fourth Estate, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. BRAND NEW, hardback signed 1st edition of this remarkable debut novel. A sultry first novel of betrayal, with an exotic setting (Malaya) and a WWII link. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 000027

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Tash Aw
Published by Fourth Estate (2005)
ISBN 10: 000718204X ISBN 13: 9780007182046
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Book Description Fourth Estate, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX000718204X

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Aw, Tash
Published by Fourth Estate, London, UK (2005)
ISBN 10: 000718204X ISBN 13: 9780007182046
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Kelleher Rare Books
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Book Description Fourth Estate, London, UK, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. First UK Edition, First Printing. This true first edition, first printing (first impression) with the number "1" to the copyright page to indicate a true first print in a Very Fine Dust Jacket.SIGNED by Tash Aw to the title page.Long listed for 2005 Booker Prize. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 000525

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Aw, Tash
Published by Fourth Estate Ltd, UK (2005)
ISBN 10: 000718204X ISBN 13: 9780007182046
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Analecta Books
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Book Description Fourth Estate Ltd, UK, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition, First Impression. AS new - mint/unread copy. Please visit my on-line store at Analectabooks! A brilliant novel from a genuinely exciting new voice in British fiction. A novel for anyone who enjoyed The English Patient. Set in Malaysia in the 1930s and 40s, with the rumbling of the Second World War in the background and the Japanese about to invade, The Harmony Silk Factory is the story of four people: Johnny, an infamous Chinaman -- a salesman, a fraudster, possibly a murderer -- whose shop house, The Harmony Silk Factory, he uses as a front for his illegal businesses; Snow Soong, the beautiful daughter of one of the Kinta Valley's most prominent families, who dies giving birth to one of the novel's narrators; Kunichika, a Japanese officer who loves Snow too; and an Englishman, Peter Wormwood, who went to Malaysia like many English but never came back, who also loved Snow to the end of his life. A journey the four of them take into the jungle has a devastating effect on all of them, and brilliantly exposes the cultural tensions of the era. Haunting, highly original, The Harmony Silk Factory is suspenseful to the last page. Jacket review : 'A fine, strong, confident novel -- and what a storyteller Tash Aw is. Unputdownable' Doris Lessing 'The Harmony Silk Factory is an utterly remarkable debut. It's a dream of a novel, lovely and exquisite and intense, and reveals Tash Aw's already prodigious gift for storytelling; this young writer has come to us fully formed, and with the promise of a long and significant career.' Chang-rae Lee UK Kirkus review Told from three different perspectives, The Harmony Silk Factory describes the life and misadventures of Johnny Lim, a Chinese-Malaysian worker with big ambitions, during the Japanese occupation of Malaysia in the 1940s. Although the book revolves around him as the central character, Johnny always remains a mystery and we never really get to know him. The closest we can get is through the perceptions of the three narrators. His adult son looks back on life with the father he never really knew. His new wife keeps a secret diary; but the enigmatic personality that originally attracted her to Johnny soon becomes a source of frustration. And Johnny's only friend, the Englishman Peter Wormwood, looks back from his old age on the days of their friendship. Whilst writing about Johnny, the three narrators reveal more about themselves and their own natures. What each of these three believes to be fact conflicts with the other accounts. The book explores how people's wishes and desires can change their perception of facts. That this can twist the truth into hearsay and the hearsay into myth. The book is sparsely peopled, but each character is drawn from the point of view of each of the narrators. The result is not a rounded view, rather a much more real, and interesting, conflicting depiction. (Kirkus UK). Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 000186

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