An evocative novel set in Malaysia, and an invitation to read The little girl in the radiator

From the October/November 2015 issue of our magazine, carers in Kent share their thoughts on an evocative novel set in Malaysia, and we invite you to read The little girl in the radiator for our next issue.

Book group: The garden of evening mists

Maidstone Carers' Book Group reads a range of books and meets to discuss them - and life in general - in a supportive environment.

Supported by local project Involve Carers, eight members run the group themselves, arranging library loans and writing summaries of each month's discussion.

They're helping to introduce our new Book group feature by sharing their responses to The garden of evening mists by Tan Twan Eng.


This novel tells the story of a retiring Malaysian judge as she revisits memories of World War II - being imprisoned and then apprenticed under a Japanese gardener.

Many in the group found the book 'absorbing, reflective and unforgettable', with a captivating first line - 'On a mountain above the clouds once lived a man who had been the gardener of the Emperor of Japan.'

An opening quote says that although the ancient Greeks had a goddess of Memory there was none for Forgetting, yet these go hand in hand throughout life.

Despite the judge's failing memory, her vivid wartime recollections drive this 'tremendously descriptive' novel. The reader is 'transported to the lushness and atmosphere of the country'.

One non-attendee was particularly missed at the session because he would have brought his atlas for reference. Others had been unable to finish the book, saying it was on the long side. However, overall the group agreed this is 'a must-read and, for some, one to own'.

The garden of evening mists by Tan Twan Eng, Canongate (2013), 352 pages, £8.99, ISBN: 9781782110187.

Your turn

For the next issue, we invite you to read The little girl in the radiator by Martin Slevin, Monday (2012), 236 pages, £8.99, ISBN: 9781906308438. Widely available at libraries.

We also have five copies to give away - email [email protected] or write to Magazine Editor, Alzheimer's Society, Devon House, 58 St Katharine's Way, London E1W 1LB by 16 October 2015 quoting 'Radiator girl' for a chance to win one.

Let us know what you think of this book by 7 November 2015 so we can share it in the next issue - email [email protected] or write to the address above.

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