Map of the Invisible World

Tash Aw

Sixteen-year-old Adam is an orphan three times over. He and his older brother, Johan, were abandoned by their mother as children; he watched as Johan was adopted and taken away by a wealthy couple; and he had to hide when Karl, the Dutch man who raised him, was arrested by soldiers during Sukarno’s drive to purge 1960s Indonesia of its colonial past.

Adam sets out on a quest to find Karl, but all he has to guide him are some old photos and letters, which send him to the colourful, dangerous capital, Jakarta. Johan, meanwhile, is living a seemingly carefree, privileged life in Malaysia, but is careening out of control, unable to forget the long-ago betrayal of his helpless, trusting brother.

‘Map of the Invisible World’ is a masterful novel, and confirms Tash Aw as one of the most exciting young writers at work today.

Reviews of Map of the Invisible World

    • ‘Aw’s first novel was a sublime piece of work that Doris Lessing called “unputdownable”. She will find this one similarly mesmerising…This is absolutely stunning writing – Aw is emerging as a master storyteller.’ The Times
    • ‘Aw’s prose can be powerful and mesmerising in its sense of place…and psychological acuity. Haunting and memorable.’ Maya Jaggi, Guardian
    • ‘Aw is a writer of great power and delicacy, as able to conjure stampeding crowds as the glow of fireflies.’ Daily Mail
    • ‘Aw’s sinuous writing vividly brings the turbulent social backdrop to life.’ Sunday Times
    • ‘His prose is vividly lyrical; and one can almost feel the heat and smell the sweat of Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.’ Independent
    • ‘Buoyant, limber, confidently told…a book embodying huge ambition, jostling with love, betrayal and guilt, all set poignantly and subtly against the politics of turmoil in post-colonial Indonesia circa 1964.’ Scotsman
    • ‘An intelligent second novel…Aw’s characteristic tone is a fine lyricism that, at best owes something to Michael Ondaatje or Anne Michaels…Aw has an exceptional talent for set pieces.’ Sunday Telegraph