The House Of Doors (a Sunday Times Bestseller)

Eng Tan Twan
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By (author) Eng Tan Twan
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The anticipated novel from the Booker-shortlisted author exploring love, betrayal and morality in 1920s Penang


It is 1921 and at Cassowary House in the Straits Settlements of Penang, Robert Hamlyn is a well-to-do lawyer and his steely wife Lesley a society hostess. Their lives are invigorated when Willie, an old friend of Robert''s, comes to stay.

Willie Somerset Maugham is one of the greatest writers of his day. But he is beleaguered by an unhappy marriage, ill-health and business interests that have gone badly awry. He is also struggling to write. The more Lesley''s friendship with Willie grows, the more clearly she see him as he is - a man who has no choice but to mask his true self.

As Willie prepares to leave and face his demons, Lesley confides secrets of her own, including how she came to know the charismatic Dr Sun Yat Sen, a revolutionary fighting to overthrow the imperial dynasty of China. And more scandalous still, she reveals her connection to the case of an Englishwoman charged with murder in the Kuala Lumpur courts - a tragedy drawn from fact, and worthy of fiction.

From Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Tan Twan Eng, The House of Doors is a masterful novel of public morality and private truth a century ago. Based on real events it is a drama of love and betrayal under the shadow of Empire.

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Outstanding . . . The House of Doors again displays [Eng''s] talent for atmospheric evocation of place and period . . . Beautifully detailed and encompassing the vagaries of Maugham''s life, the contours of his creativity and the personal and political tensions covertly quivering through the sultry colony around him, The House of Doors is a finely accomplished piece of work
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A tremendous feat of literary imagination. Highly evocative, richly observed and entirely convincing, it is a tour de force!
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Expertly constructed, tightly plotted and richly atmospheric
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A pleasure to read . . . Tan''s style is formal, quiet, sedate but alive with detail
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Perfectly poised . . . a fascinatingly layered novel . . . Through this deceptively lulling atmosphere, Twan has woven a superb, quietly complex tale of love, duty and betrayal
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Fascinating, engrossing and has given me infinite pleasure
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An ambitious, elaborate fiction about fictions . . . a portrait of the artist in crisis, a meditation on how and why we tell stories and a heated courtroom drama
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A book that believes instinctively in the beauty of language, in the ability of the sentence to transport us; we get to luxuriate in every description, live inside every image
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An undeniably compelling tale . . . complex and beguiling
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What elevates Eng''s book is the sheer beauty of his writing - restrained, elegant, precise, every detail accurate, every line considered. Pain, loss and disappointment seep from every page, as do beauty and compassion . . . an elegant tribute to Maugham
Biographical note

Tan Twan Eng was born in Penang, Malaysia. His debut novel The Gift of Rain was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2007 and has been widely translated. The Garden of Evening Mists won the Man Asian Literary Prize 2012 and the 2013 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012 and the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. The House of Doors is his third novel.


More Information
Date Of Publication May 18, 2023
EAN 9781838858308
Contributors Eng Tan Twan
Publisher Canongate Books Ltd
Languages English
Country of Publication United Kingdom
Product Forms Hardback
Availability in Stores Sin El-Fil, Metro Mall, ABC Verdun, ABC Achrafieh, Global
Weight 0.388000
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