He has produced another book which has, significantly enough, been positively reviewed by Neel Mukerjee of Time magazine. Go buy his book:
Malaysian writer Tash Aw won a 2005 Whitbread Book Award for his debut offering The Harmony Silk Factory, and his follow-up does not disappoint. An unusually braided novel, Map of the Invisible World condenses the prolonged, troubled birth of an independent Indonesia into a complex drama of private relationships.
There are three narratives: of Adam, a child rescued from an Indonesian orphanage by a Dutch painter, Karl; of Adam's brother, Johan, separated from Adam when a rich Malaysian couple adopted him from the same orphanage and took him to Kuala Lumpur; and of Margaret, a Jakarta-based American anthropologist. It is Margaret that the 16-year-old Adam seeks out when Karl is arrested in a drive to forcibly repatriate the Dutch.
Indonesia in 1964 is teetering on the edge of civil war. Sukarno's "guided democracy" is in its death throes, and militant communism is on the rise. Jakarta is no place for an innocent such as Adam, who unknowingly gets roped into petty terrorism. Meanwhile, Johan, drifting aimlessly through a cushioned life of wealth, cars and soft drugs, cannot lay to rest the memories of his lost brother.
While Aw's prose remains as luminous as in his debut novel — evoking a wonderfully textured world of streets and shantytowns — there is greater emotional heft in this new work. The tender relationship of the brothers before they are separated, and their sundering, is told in a timed-release fashion, reaching an unbearably moving climax. If there is a sag in the middle of the novel brought about by a too expository account of Indonesian politics, it is more than redeemed by the way Aw debunks every expectation one has of the postcolonial novel: questions of identity and belonging, of native and foreigner, of affiliations of birth and adoption. This is a book full of immense intelligence and empathy.