Map of the Invisible World

“Map of the Invisible World” by Tash Aw (Malaysia)


Intriguing, colourful and touching are some of the words that readers used to describe this story set at the beginning of Indonesian independence. They agreed that the author painted a vivid picture of life both in the countryside and in the city during these turbulent times. One reader found it somewhat confusing because of the change in point-of-view between the characters. However, other readers liked the back and forth between characters and time with one reader describing it as ‘a story being told with others woven into it’. Everyone warmed quickly to Adam who they felt was well portrayed as a naive and likeable orphan. Some readers would have enjoyed reading more about his brother Johan who was less present in the book. They felt that some of the secondary characters such as Margaret and Din had depth to them, whereas others such as Bill Schneider felt a bit clichéd. Readers had different opinions on the ending with each one left to decide the outcome! Overall, it averaged a 7.6 out of 10.


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… Read more

Nicola’s Book Club reading list 

Season 16 – “Journeys in Time” (Sep 2012 – Jan 2013)

“Malinche” by Laura Esquivel (Mexico)
“Pure” by Andrew Miller (U.K.)
“Black Mamba Boy” by Nadifa Mohamed (Somalia) *
“Map of the Invisible World” by Tash Aw (Malaysia)
“Departing at Dawn” by Gloria Lisé (Argentina)

* The book club favourite
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur

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