Staff Review: The House of Doors

The House of Doors

By Tan Twan Eng

Review by Marija

After an 11-year wait, Tan Twan Eng’s new book is finally here, and it is a book to savour. Set in 1920’s British colony of Penang (today’s Malaysia), the book revolves around a very well-to-do couple, and the visit of their friend, the writer Somerset Maugham. The motifs running through the story are the universal human drivers – desire, duty, and love. Eng is a mesmerizing writer – his graceful, atmospheric prose weaving characters, storylines, times, and places with aching poignancy. His language is precise, and at the same time effortlessly free-flowing and poetic. I kept re-reading sentences, simply for the beauty of expression contained within.