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...

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