Thursday, January 27, 2011
Map of The Invisible World By Tash Aw
Can you imagine my delight when I spotted this book in BookXcess Facebook updates? I nearly missed it coz I was very busy earlier this month. When I spotted it, more than a week had passed.
Hoping against hope, I "FB-ed" them and sent them an e-mail to reserve a copy. Too bad the paperback copies have all been sold out. Left are the Hardcovers. Still, I managed to secured a Hardcover copy of this book thanks to their efficient Customer Service.
What is this book about? Hmm...it touches a bit of everything that happen in Indonesia around 1950-60s.
Story is about the life of two orphaned brothers, Johan(the elder) and Adam(the younger).
Both were in an orphanage after being left there by their mother. Johan was adopted by a rich Malaysia couple when he was around 10 years old. He was tricked into the car that carries him away from his 5 year old brother.
Can you imagine the heart-break for Johan to see Adam chasing after the car with his little feet till Adam collapse on the dusty road?
Johan grew up in a privileged environment but he was rebellious and seems to have a dead wish. Later it was shown that he had something akin to "Survivor Guilt". He had promised that he won't leave his brother but he did.
Meantime, Adam was adopted by a Dutch man name Karl. Karl lives in tiny island of Indonesia and loves Indonesia very much. He consider himself an Indonesian though many disagree with him.
One day when Adam was near 16 years old, the Army came and took Karl away. Adam was at a lost. He dug into his father stuffs and found a picture of a woman and an address. That woman was Margaret Bates. Karl's ex-girlfriend.
Alone, Adam journeyed to Jakarta and found Margaret and seek her help in finding Karl. Margaret was shock but immediately took Adam under her protection. But something gone wrong in which Adam end up on the street.
After many things happen, they managed to be reunited again and with a new friend's help they managed to find Karl.
I am not familiar with the history of Indonesia nor it's politics situations back then. This book really opens my eyes. It highlight the internal battles around the Islands especially after the Transmigration Policy which seems to have failed and resulted in many broken families.
Then at the city center, the political party are at each other throat. Ones need to have $$ to get anything done there.
The ending was not quite what I had expected. Guess the are many "Invisible World" out there which we can't see with our naked eyes.
This is indeed a terrific book to read. I can see that a lot of research and efforts have been put into the creation of this book. Each words that I read in this book gives me a sense of euphoria that one can only enjoy after reading a good book.
I really look forward to Tash Aw book.