The House of Doors: An Evening with Tan Twan Eng
Date and Time:
Oct 19 2023 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
The Book Stall
811 Elm St., Winnetka, IL 60093

Tan Twan Eng

The House of Doors: An Evening with Tan Twan Eng

Community Event

The Book Stall is delighted to partner with Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District to host an in-store event on Thursday, October 19 at 6:30 pm with award-winning author Tan Twan Eng to discuss his new book, The House of Doors, which was longlisted for this year’s Booker Prize. Following his acclaimed works The Gift of Rain and The Garden of Evening Mists, Mr. Eng’s first novel in eleven years is a spellbinding work of historical fiction based on true events that recounts the renowned author Somerset Maugham’s trip to Malaysia in the aftermath of WWI and the secretive couple with whom he grows entangled. Tan Twan Eng will be in conversation with Kathleen Rooney, author of the new novel, From Dust to Stardust.

This event is free with registration, to register, please visit our website.

More About the Book: The year is 1921. Lesley Hamlyn and her husband, Robert, a lawyer and war veteran, are living at Cassowary House on the Straits Settlement of Penang. When “Willie” Somerset Maugham, a famed writer and old friend of Robert’s, arrives for an extended visit with his secretary Gerald, the pair threatens a rift that could alter more lives than one.

The great novelist, Maugham, having long hidden his homosexuality, struggles as his unhappy marriage of convenience becomes unbearable after he loses his savings, and the freedom to travel with Gerald. His career deflating, his health failing, Maugham arrives at Cassowary House in desperate need of a subject for his next book. Lesley, too, is enduring a marriage more duplicitous than it first appears. Maugham suspects an affair and decides to probe deeper. But as their friendship grows and Lesley confides in him about life in the Straits, Maugham discovers a far more surprising tale than he imagined, one that involves not only war and scandal, but the trial of an Englishwoman charged with murder. It is, to Maugham, a story worthy of fiction.

Colm Tóibín, author of The Magician, says, “The House of Doors is brilliantly observed and full of memorable characters. It is so well-written, everything so effortlessly dramatized, the narrative so well structured and paced, that this is a book that will mesmerize readers far into the future.”

More About the Author: Tan Twan Eng was born in Penang and lived in various places in Malaysia as a child. His first novel, The Gift of Rain, was longlisted for the Man Booker. His second, The Garden of Evening Mists was a major international bestseller, shortlisted for the Man Booker, and winner of the Man Asia Literary Prize and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. It was adapted into an award-winning film in 2019 that was directed by Tom Lin. Twan divides his time between Malaysia and South Africa.

More About our Conversation Partner: Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a nonprofit publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, as well as a founding member of Poems While You Wait, a collective of poets and their vintage typewriters who compose poetry on demand. Her most recent books include the novels Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk and Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey. Her poetry collection Where Are the Snows won the 2021 X. J. Kennedy Prize. She is a winner of the Ruth Lilly Prize from Poetry magazine and the Adam Morgan Literary Citizen Award from the Chicago Review of Books.