In my pursuit to do better at making myself happy, I’ve tried to expand my reading – both in genre and quantity of books. I’ve subscribed to Book of the Month which has been a little hit or miss for me, but I wanted to go ahead and share a book I recently finished.
Let me go ahead and preface this by saying I’m not a well read literary critic. I literally picked this book because I loved the cover art and I can’t say I’ve read many Asian authors. That being said, this is a review of The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo. I also think that through Book of the Month, this book was available through the site before it was actually published (which makes me feel like a badass because I got it before everyone else).
Let’s dive in!
This cover grabbed my eye instantly. Is that a good reason to pick a book? Probably not, but hey, I’m not disappointed.
An utterly transporting novel set in 1930s colonial Malaysia. A world of servants and masters, age-old superstition and modern idealism, sibling rivalry and forbidden love.
I’d say that about sums this book up perfectly. Now, I’m not well versed in Asian culture, let alone colonial Malaysian culture, but the author really does an AMAZING job of submerging the reader into a lush, vibrant setting where you can feel the thick humidity and ancient mysticism with every page. I adore the fact this is so outside of my normal wheelhouse and appreciate that Choo defines terms that I wouldn’t normally understand in a way that isn’t an annoying footnote or glossary in the back of the book.
The author’s ability to seamlessly define foreign language and explain Malaysian culture really helps the reader understand the characters throughout the book. This book really has everything – suspense and mystery while trying to find a lost finger; forbidden, taboo love; murder, lust, historical fiction, ancient folklore, and a plethora of characters to keep the reader entertained.
With all that going on though, I did think this book crammed almost too much into the storyline that it almost became predictable. I wish the author could have edited out some of the subplots to really focus on the main characters BUT Choo did a great job of tying everything in.
Maybe I’m too sentimental but I really didn’t want this book to end. There definitely seemed like an ending that hints at a sequel so I’ll be following up. I adore these characters and their struggles. I also love that I get a glimpse into a culture I am not familiar with that seems so rich and vibrant. I feel like that’s the most accurate way to review this book – just like the cover art, this whole story is rich and vibrant, leaving you drenched in the multifaceted perspectives of characters who have to balance their own needs and desires within the confines of their culture. It’s truly a beautiful book.
So, I’m really happy I read this because and I highly recommend! Go pick up your copy!
Also, if you’d like to join Book of the Month, here is a referral link! This let’s you get a hardcover book for about $15 PLUS another FREE hardcover book.