From the Booker-shortlisted author of The Garden of Evening Mists comes an evocative, rich tale of love, betrayal and morality in 1920s Penang
LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2023
LONGLISTED FOR THE WALTER SCOTT PRIZE FOR HISTORICAL FICTION
A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
A FINANCIAL TIMES, NEW STATESMAN, NEW YORKER AND WASHINGTON POST BOOK OF THE YEAR
Willie Somerset Maugham is one of the greatest writers of the early twentieth century. But in 1921 he is beleaguered by an unhappy marriage, ill-health and business interests that have gone badly awry. He is also struggling to write.
His friend Robert Hamlyn offers an escape in the Straits Settlements of Penang, where Robert’s steely wife Lesley learns to see Willie as he is – a man who has no choice but to mask his true self.
As Willie prepares to leave, Lesley confides in him secrets of her own, including how she came to know the charismatic revolutionary Dr Sun Yat Sen. And more scandalous still, her connection to an Englishwoman charged with murder in the Kuala Lumpur courts – a tragedy drawn from fact, and worthy of fiction.
“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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“Fascinating, engrossing and has given me infinite pleasure”
“A tremendous feat of literary imagination. Highly evocative, richly observed and entirely convincing, it is a tour de force!”
“Expertly constructed, tightly plotted and richly atmospheric”
“Sex, scandal and Somerset Maugham … an elegant meditation on oppression, repression and loneliness … The House of Doors pays tribute to storytelling itself as a means not just of memorialising, but recreating … imbued with quiet yearning, this a pleasurably old-fashioned novel”
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.