The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw

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Synopsis

Joseph Conrad, W. Somerset Maugham, and Anthony Burgess have shaped our perceptions of Malaysia. In Tash Aw, we now have an authentic Malaysian voice that remaps this literary landscape.

The Harmony Silk Factory traces the story of textile merchant Johnny Lim, a Chinese peasant living in British Malaya in the first half of the twentieth century. Johnny's factory is the most impressive structure in the region, and to the inhabitants of the Kinta Valley Johnny is a hero—a Communist who fought the Japanese when they invaded, ready to sacrifice his life for the welfare of his people. But to his son, Jasper, Johnny is a crook and a collaborator who betrayed the very people he pretended to serve, and the Harmony Silk Factory is merely a front for his father's illegal businesses. This debut novel from Tash Aw gives us an exquisitely written look into another culture at a moment of crisis.

The Harmony Silk Factory won the 2005 Whitbread First Novel Award and also made it to the 2005 Man Booker longlist.

 

 

About Tash Aw

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TASH AW's debut novel, The Harmony Silk Factory, 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. He is also the author of Map of the Invisible World. Malaysian by birth, he now lives in London, and wrote this novel on a Fellowship in Shanghai.






Author Residence: London, UK






Author Hometown: Malaysia
 
Published February 7, 2006 by Riverhead. 420 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Education & Reference. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Harmony Silk Factory

Kirkus Reviews

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Peter himself is far from innocent, a bitter, poisonous man who will indeed betray Johnny, though the friendship has been implausible from the get-go.

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The Guardian

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The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw 362pp, Fourth Estate, £12.99 Tash Aw's mercurial debut novel opens with the enigmatic anti-hero dead and his disaffected son determined to stamp on the grave.

Mar 26 2005 | Read Full Review of The Harmony Silk Factory

Publishers Weekly

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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.

Feb 14 2005 | Read Full Review of The Harmony Silk Factory

NPR

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Tash Aw's The Harmony Silk Factory chronicles the rise and fall of a Chinese businessman, told from the point of view of three narrators.

May 23 2005 | Read Full Review of The Harmony Silk Factory

Reader Rating for The Harmony Silk Factory
62%

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