Tan Twan Eng biography, plus links to book reviews and book excerpts from books by Tan Twan Eng.

Author Biography  |  Interview  |  Books by this Author  |  Readalikes

Tan Twan Eng

Tan Twan Eng

Tan Twan Eng Biography

Tan Twan Eng was born in Penang, but lived in various places in Malaysia as a child. He studied law through the University of London, and later worked as an advocate and solicitor in one of Kuala Lumpur's most reputable law firms. He has a first-dan ranking in akido and is a strong proponent for the conservation of heritage buildings. He spent a year travelling around South Africa, and currently lives in Cape Town where he is working on his second book.

Note: In traditional Chinese style, the family name precedes the given name(s). Tan is the author's family name, Twan Eng his given names. Some authors choose to anglicize their names for the purposes of publishing in English, so that their family name appears on the book cover last not first, others such as Tan Twan Eng don't.

However, English language databases inevitably place the family name last - hence the discrepancy between the way Tan Twan Eng's name appears on the book jacket and how it appears at BookBrowse.

Link to Tan Twan's website

This biography was last updated on 08/25/2011.

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Interview

Why did you write about this particular moment in Malaysian history?
I’ve been interested in this period since I was a boy, and I’ve been reading up on it and collecting materials and books on it for a long time. It’s a time which appeals to me, perhaps because it’s so soaked in nostalgia. Things seemed to have been done with more style then, there was a greater emphasis that things had to be done properly.

When I began writing The Gift of Rain, it seemed only natural to me that I set it in that era. The story also required it to be, of course, because I wanted to write about the Japanese Occupation of Malaya and how it affected my characters.

Who do you identify with the most in the novel?
I identify myself with many of the characters in The Gift of Rain – from Philip, to Endo, to Michiko and all the other characters. While the novel isn’t autobiographical in terms of the plot elements, it does contain many of my views on life, the philosophies which have influenced me, and the questions about life which I often ask myself and wiser people around me.

What does Philip Hutton want in life? What is important to him?
Philip wants – like all of us – to find a place to belong to. I think...

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Books by this Author

Books by Tan Twan Eng at BookBrowse

Recommended in Detail at BookBrowse

The Garden of Evening Mists
The Garden of Evening Mists

by Tan Twan Eng

Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan.
Read More

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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Tan Twan Eng but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

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    Chloe Aridjis

    Chloe Aridjis was born in New York and grew up in the Netherlands and Mexico. She received her PhD in nineteenth-century French poetry and magic shows from Oxford, then lived in Berlin for five years. Her first novel, Book of... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Garden of Evening Mists

    Try:
    Asunder
    by Chloe Aridjis

  • Tash Aw

    Tash Aw

    Tash Aw was born in Taipei to Malaysian-Chinese parents and grew up in Kuala Lumpar. He moved to England at 18 to attend university, where he studied Law at Cambridge and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

    ... (more)

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