LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2023
A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
A FINANCIAL TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR
A NEW STATESMAN BOOK OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORKER BOOK OF THE YEAR
A WASHINGTON POST BOOK OF THE YEAR
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.
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 * * Sunday Times * *
A tremendous feat of literary imagination. Highly evocative, richly observed and entirely convincing, it is a tour de force! -- WILLIAM BOYD
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 * * Daily Telegraph * *
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 . . . Tan Twan Eng resides in the very top row * * Times Literary Supplement * *
Expertly constructed, tightly plotted and richly atmospheric * * Financial Times * *
A pleasure to read . . . Tan's style is formal, quiet, sedate but alive with detail -- JOHN SELF * * The Critic * *
Perfectly poised . . . a fascinatingly layered novel . . . Through this deceptively lulling atmosphere, Twan has woven a superb, quietly complex tale of love, duty and betrayal * * Literary Review * *
Fascinating, engrossing and has given me infinite pleasure -- Colm Tóibín * * Guardian * *
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 * * Guardian * *
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 -- ANDREW McMILLAN
- Long-listed for The Booker Prize 2023 (UK)
Dimensions: 240mm x 162mm x 31mm