Tash Aw’s acclaimed first novel is a multi-layered story of love and regret set against the turmoil of mid-20th century Malaysia.
The Harmony Silk Factory is set in Malaysia in the 1930s and 40s, with the rumbling of the Second World War in the background and the Japanese about to invade. A journey that four people take into the jungle has a devastating effect on all of them, and brilliantly exposes the cultural tensions of the era. The story revolves around an anti-hero called Johnny Lim - a salesman, a fraudster, possibly a murderer - whose life is narrated by three different people, with contradictory perspectives.
About the AuthorThe polyglot Tash Aw - he speaks Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese and English - was unsatisfied with how south-east Asia was portrayed in Western literature so he set out to show its complexities.