Map of the Invisible World

Map of the Invisible World

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Author: Tash Aw

The setting is Indonesia in 1963 and 1964, a time when Sukarno was whipping up fierce nationalist resentment against imperialism: against the British who had just set up Malaysia as an independent state when the Indonesians had hoped for a fusion between their countries, and against their former Dutch rulers and the Dutch who still lived in Indonesia, many of whom were forced to leave. Domestically, too, it is a tense time: there are demonstrations and riots against the government, especially by left-wing students, and the country was on the verge of General Suharto's murderous purge of the Indonesian communists.The central character of the novel is Adam, a 16 year old Indonesian boy who had been adopted at the age of five from an orphanage by Karl de Willigen, a gentle Dutch artist, and who knows nothing about his parents. He is keenly aware that he is `different' from his Indonesian school fellows. He has a vague memory of an elder brother, Johan, who had also been at the orphanage but had been adopted by someone else, and he wishes he could find him again.When the book opens, Adam sees soldiers taking Karl away from their home on the island of Nusa Perdo (which I cannot find on any atlas and which may be invented. It seems to be a ferry-ride away from the south coast of Java). Who can help him to find his adopted father? Going through Karl's papers, he finds the address in Jakarta of Margaret Bates, an American professor who had been a friend, and he seeks her out. She has contacts with an Australian journalist and with an American member of the CIA, both of whom she tries to enlist to find and help Karl.

Format: Medium PB
Year published: 2010
Pages: 400
Sub-genre: novel
Imprint: 4th Estate
Product weight: 305g

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