Articles tagged "Garden of Evening Mists"

Elsa Hart’s Chinese Library Adventure

Two weeks ago, Elsa Hart‘s fabulous debut, JADE DRAGON MOUNTAIN, about an 18th-century exiled librarian who must learn the truth about a Jesuit priest’s death, arrived on shelves and is raking in rave reviews!

“In addition to being a satisfying mystery, JADE DRAGON MOUNTAIN also powerfully evokes the aesthetics of the time and place it describes. Its visual vistas often resemble centuries-old watercolors…” — The Wall Street Journal

“…perfectly melds history with the mystery genre for a lush look at China on the cusp of change…. one of the year’s most engrossing debuts and establishes Hart as an author to watch.” — Associated Press

“Hart’s sure command of historical complexities, conflicts between cultures, and plot twists leads to a satisfying conclusion.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The mix of history, thriller, and layers of storytelling make for a complex and rewarding novel that deserves a wide readership.” — Library Journal

“Part mystery, part exploration of a culture fading into history’s shadows, Hart’s novel is a fascinating, intelligent debut…. Think Agatha Christie writing Shogun—Hart’s captivating debut has solid cross-genre appeal.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Decorated with a careful attention to detail, this old-fashioned mystery suits its setting in atmosphere and pacing, drawing the reader into an exotic territory. …the first in a series sure to please fans of Laura Joh Rowland’s Sano Ichiro mysteries, set in Japan, and those who enjoyed the magical Malaysian setting of Tan Twan Eng’s Garden of Evening Mists.” — Booklist

How did Elsa Hart get such fabulous detail in her book? Why, research on location, natch! Here’s a piece she wrote about an encounter in the out-of-date foreign language collection of a provincial Chinese library…

I am sitting in my quiet little corner of the library. My chair is in a recess so all anyone can see of me is a dirty blue converse sneaker. I can hear Sherlock Holmes: “But the shoes reveal everything, Watson. Observe the heels, emblazoned ALI STRS, an approximation of the authentic ALL STAR logo. They were obviously purchased in China. They are dirty, which means she has had them for a while, but not long enough to know that the accepted practice is to take shoes to the laundry in order to maintain their clean appearance. The style of the shoes, familiar and therefore comforting, suggests she anticipates homesickness. She is using a library card as a bookmark, which means she has established proof of residence in the city. Clearly she has not been in China long, but intends to stay for some time.” readmoreremove

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