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The Map of Lost Memories holds a special place in my heart. When I was a child, my grandfather lived with my family, and at night he would sit on the side of my bed and tell me stories about his life as a sailor in Asia in the 1930s. Together we would pore over his photos, most of which were of Shanghai and showed an exotic world of rickshaws and sampans against a backdrop of majestic European buildings.
As I grew up, my fascination with Asia simmered within me until I graduated from college and made my first trip. I was smitten by the sodden heat, the smell of incense and jasmine down hidden lanes, and the magical combination of foreignness and familiarity. I continued to return to that part of the world until finally I moved to Vietnam. It was there that I read about Andre and Clara Malraux, a French couple who looted a Cambodian temple in the 1920s to raise money for the Communist party. With that, the first glimmer of my novel appeared.
In the following years, surrounded by the remnants of French colonialism, I could not stop thinking about the Westerners who came to Asia to claim a piece of it for themselves. I began to research every bit of information available on the history of illicit art collecting at the beginning of the twentieth century. I traveled to Shanghai to trace the stories my grandfather once told me. And I went to Angkor Wat. I had read so much about this temple and thought about it for such a long time, and still its grandeur stunned me.
Shaped by all of these experiences and my great passion for Asia, The Map of Lost Memories is both an adventure novel and a time capsule.
One of my gramps' photos of Shanghai that inspired The Map of Lost Memories
An abandoned Khmer temple in the jungles of Cambodia in the 1920s
A deserted hallway in Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple in the 1920s
Thinly drawn characters that don't seem realistic.
It has been awhile since I have been so truly absorbed in a book from cover to cover--and after finishing it, wanting to turn back to page 1 and begin again.
If you like a nice character story set in exotic locations at exotic times, run to this book.
Enjoyed it thoroughly. I think the writing (not just the pacing) is better in the second half. If you start it, stick with it. I'm glad I did! Read morePublished 1 month ago by laraf123
Not a real review, but a note. This is a wonderful book, engaging and well written. It is not Nobel worthy, hence, less than all the stars. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bettye G. Thompson
It's fragrant, it reeks, it's sweaty, it's opinionated, it's suspenseful, it's a mirage, it's stubborn, it's true, it's deep, it's full of passion, it's female! Read morePublished 3 months ago by Percy Adlon
After a slow start, the quest for the scrolls took off. Indiana Jones-like adventure in the jungle of the Khmer empire.Published 3 months ago by Hilde Björhovde
I was drawn to the theme of finding lost texts of the ancient Khmer culture of Cambodia, and the book started out promisingly. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Miranda Joyce Childe
Absolutely loved this story. The character development flowed seamlessly with the plot. The description of the setting made it feel as though I was sitting and feeling Shanghai... Read morePublished 4 months ago by L. Allison
I expect my stories to have some type of resolution: simplistically: a beginning, a middle, and an end. Read morePublished 5 months ago by A. Johnson
I enjoyed this book and at times had a hard time putting it down. It also sparked enough interest in History that I took to the computer to further my knowledge!Published 5 months ago by Ann Marie Nowak
I really enjoyed the ever changing mystery of who was on which side of ethical choices as well as how the cast of characters was possbly realted to one another. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Karen B. Zagor