Choo (The Ghost Bride) centers her riveting latest on five individuals connected to a series of deaths in Malaysia’s Kinta Valley. In 1930s Malaya, 11-year-old house servant Ren accepts the dying request of his master, Dr. MacFarlane, to find his dismembered finger (it was amputated after an accident) and bury it in his grave. The task must be completed within 49 days or else, according to lore, the doctor’s spirit is doomed to wander Earth forever. Thus Ren begins to work for William Acton, the British surgeon who amputated MacFarlane’s finger years before. As Ren desperately searches Acton’s home and the nearby hospital for the finger, the body of a young woman is discovered, her scattered remains presumably the work of a man-eating tiger. Meanwhile, Ji Lin, a dressmaker’s apprentice who secretly works at a dance hall, happens upon a preserved finger in the possession of an unsavory customer. Ji enlists the help of her step-brother, Shin, to discover the origin of the finger, but uncanny tragedies and mishaps follow in their wake. Mythical creatures, conversations with the dead, lucky numbers, Confucian virtues, and forbidden love provide the backdrop for Choo’s superb murder mystery. Mining the rich setting of colonial Malaysia, Choo wonderfully combines a Holmes-esque plot with Chinese lore. (Feb.)
Praise for The Night Tiger
A Most Anticipated Book (Glamour, Real Simple, Parade, Bustle, BookPage, Goodreads, PopSugar, BookRiot, Refinery29, Tor.com, HelloGiggles)
USA Today: Best Books of the Year So Far
Refinery29: A Best Book of the Year (So Far)
National Geographic: 13 New Books for Spring Break Trips
“This is the kind of book that when you read it, you really are transported back to that time and place… [Choo has] captured, in a very atmospheric way, the time period and the superstitions [of colonial Malaysia in the 1930s]. It’s a pretty wonderful book.” Nancy Pearl, NPR’s Morning Edition
“Richly complex…Gorgeous…Transport[s] us into a colonial world we more often see from the view of the occupier, in this transcendent tale about twins who share no blood, mythology and superstition, sibling rivalry, loyalty, forbidden love and identity.” San Francisco Chronicle
“A mesmerizing tale of murder, romance, and superstition….So vividly told, you can practically smell the oleander blossoms outside Acton’s house. This Night Tiger is worth a prowl.” USA Today
“A book for fans of Isabel Allende and for those who love a murder mystery with a beautiful backdrop.” Glamour
“A lushly detailed novel imbued with folklore, mystery, and romance.” National Geographic
“Fans of Isabel Allende will likely soar through Yangsze Choo’s The Night Tiger at a breakneck pace, so you might want to clear your schedule before sitting down to read it.” PopSugar
"So engrossing you could spend a day reading this lush historical novel without staring at your phone once... A sweeping novel with something for everyone and incredible writing." Refinery29
"A bravura performance." Washington Independent Review of Books
“A sumptuous garden maze of a novel that immerses readers in a complex, vanished world…Choo weaves her research in with a feather-light touch, and readers will be so caught up in the natural and supernatural intrigue that the serious themes here about colonialism and power dynamics, about gender and class, are absorbed with equal delicacy.” Kirkus (starred review)
"A work of incredible beauty...Astoundingly captivating and striking in its portrayal of love, betrayal, and death, The Night Tiger is a transcendent story of courage and connection." Booklist (starred review)
“Mythical creatures, conversations with the dead, lucky numbers, Confucian virtues, and forbidden love provide the backdrop to Choo’s superb murder mystery. Mining the rich setting of colonial Malaysia, Choo wonderfully combines a Holmes-esque plot with Chinese lore.” Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed review)
“[Choo] presents complex characters and multilayered stories in a vivid setting that coalesce into a richly evocative and mesmerizing tale in which myths and folklore intertwine in daily life. For fans of Kate Mosse or Isabel Allende.” Library Journal
“Complex, ambitious...a little bit magical.” Shelf Awareness
“Yangsze Choo’s lush writing will appeal to all kinds of readers.” HelloGiggles
“…A fascinating and compelling story, deftly told. A story that is interesting both culturally and historically, while also being an intensely personal exploration of two very different people struggling to find their way in a difficult world that has very stringent expectations of them with little or no room for failure. The characters are both recognizable and memorable, and the resolution…will keep readers guessing and turning the pages until the very last one.” Los Angeles Public Library
A young houseboy and a dressmaker's apprentice get drawn into a mystery in 1930s Malaya.
It is May 1931, and 11-year-old Ren's master, Dr. MacFarlane, is dying. Before he takes his last breath, MacFarlane gives Ren a mission: Find the doctor's missing finger, amputated years ago and now in the possession of a friend, and bury it in his grave before the 49 days of the soul have elapsed. In another town, Ji Lin has given up dreams of university study to sew dresses during the day and work a second job in a dance hall; one evening, she is approached by a salesman who presses something into her hand during a dance: a severed finger in a glass specimen tube. By the next day, the salesman is dead—and his won't be the last mysterious death to plague the area. Ji Lin's search for the finger's owner and Ren's search for the digit itself eventually draw the two together and in the process ensnare everyone from Ji Lin's taciturn stepbrother to Ren's new master and his other household servants. Choo (The Ghost Bride, 2013) continues her exploration of Malayan folklore here with questions that point to the borders where the magical and the real overlap: Is someone murdering citizens of the Kinta Valley, or is it a were-tiger, a beast who wears human skin? Can spirits communicate with the living? Should superstitions—lucky numbers, rituals—govern a life? Choo weaves her research in with a feather-light touch, and readers will be so caught up in the natural and supernatural intrigue that the serious themes here about colonialism and power dynamics, about gender and class, are absorbed with equal delicacy.
Choo has written a sumptuous garden maze of a novel that immerses readers in a complex, vanished world.