From the author of the internationally acclaimed, award-winning The Harmony Silk Factory comes an enthralling new novel that evokes an exotic yet turbulent and often frightening time and place. Map of the Invisible World is the masterly, psychologically rich tale of three lives indelibly marked by the past--their own and Indonesia's.
Sixteen-year-old Adam is an orphan three times over. He and his brother, Johan, were abandoned by their mother as children; then Adam watched as Johan was adopted and taken away by a wealthy couple; and now Adam is hiding because Karl, the man who raised him--and who is Dutch but long ago turned his back on the country of his ancestors--has been arrested by soldiers during Sukarno's drive to purge 1960s Indonesia of its colonial past.
All Adam has to guide him in his quest to find Karl are some old photos and letters, which send him to the colorful, dangerous capital, Jakarta, and to Margaret, an American whose own past is bound up with Karl's. Soon both have embarked on journeys of discovery that seem destined to turn tragic.
Woven hauntingly into this page-turning story is the voice of Johan, who is living a seemingly carefree, privileged life in Malaysia, but one that is careening out of control as he struggles to forget his long-ago betrayal of his helpless, trusting brother.
Map of the Invisible World confirms Tash Aw as one of the most exciting young voices on the international literary scene.
"From the Hardcover edition."
"Reminiscent of Graham Greene . . . powerful and mesmerizing . . . haunting and memorable."--The Guardian (U.K.) "Full of immense intelligence and empathy."--Time
"Beautifully written . . . The tension of the lives of Aw's characters, the frayed fabric of Jakarta . . . the dichotomies of beauty and squalor, the mobs, the menace, the impending crisis--all of this is captured in Map of the Invisible World with a fidelity that can't be faulted."--The Washington Post
"Exquisite . . . What makes [Map of the Invisible World] brilliant are its rootless main characters. These fully formed individuals and their relationships transform [this] novel into a moving meditation on identity, memory, and art."--Time Out New York
"Exquisitely and subtly rendered . . . Aw's haunting writing and his detailed evocation of 1960s Indonesia are both masterly."--The Christian Science Monitor
"[A] vibrant narrative . . . enveloping the reader in several haunting personal journeys."--The Denver Post
"Engrossing . . . plunges the reader into another time and place, and both are alluring."--The Plain Dealer
"Well-paced and gorgeously written, this epic story of loss and identity mirrors the struggles of the young Indonesia in which it takes place."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)