Forgiving but not forgetting in The garden of evening mists

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Under history, memory and forgetting. Under memory and forgetting, life. But writing a life is another story. Incompletion. (Ricoeur, 2004) This article begins its analysis of the Malaysian writer Tan Twan Eng’s second novel The Garden of Evening Mists (2012) by initially focusing on the ways in which Tan explores the relationship between incompletion and mnemonic recollection. Subsequently, the article draws upon Ricoeur’s insightful perspective on re-enactment in the dichotomy of memory and forgetting, through which personal and collective memories and losses are re-enacted and remembered in the present. Reading the novel through Ricoeur’s philosophical work Memory, History, Forgetting (2004) also enables the traces of history to come to light, manifested in various forms as discreet but commemorative reminders of the pain and violence of a historical past. Finally, building upon the analysis of incompletion, recollection, re-enactment, and historical traces, this chapter examines the volatile yet interdependent relationship between self and other, victim and perpetrator as well as the notion of difficult forgiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMemory, Trauma, Asia
Subtitle of host publicationRecall, Affect, and Orientalism in Contemporary Narratives
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781351379007
ISBN (Print)9781138505582
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Forgiving but not forgetting in The garden of evening mists'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this