The sounds of the world outside faded away, absorbed into the leaves. I stood there, not moving. For a moment I felt that nothing had changed since I was last here, almost thirty-five years before the scent of pine resin sticking to the air, the bamboo creaking and knocking in the breeze, the broken mosaic of sunlight scattered over the ground.
Guided by memory's compass, I began to walk into the garden. I made one or two wrong turns but came eventually to the pond. I stopped, the twisting walk through the tunnel of trees heightening the effect of seeing the open sky over the water.
Six tall, narrow stones huddled into a miniature limestone mountain range in the center of the pond. On the opposite bank stood the pavilion, duplicated in the water so that it appeared like a paper lantern hanging in midair. A willow grew a few feet away from the pavilion's side, its branches sipping from the pond.
Excerpted from The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng. Copyright © 2012 by Tan Twan Eng. Excerpted by permission of Weinstein Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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