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The Map of Lost Memoriesby Kim Fay
Synopses & Reviews
Suspense and secrets are woven together in this engrossing fiction debut by Kim Fay. The Map of Lost Memories takes readers on a daring expedition to a remote land, where the search for an elusive treasure becomes a journey into the darkest recesses of the mind and heart.
In 1925, the international treasure-hunting scene is a man’s world, and no woman knows this better than Irene Blum, who is passed over for the coveted curator position at Seattle’s renowned Brooke Museum. But she is not ready to accept defeat. Skilled at acquiring priceless, often illicitly trafficked artifacts, Irene is given a rare map believed to lead to a set of copper scrolls that chronicle the lost history of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer civilization. Such a find would not only restore her reputation, it would be the greatest archaeological discovery of the century.
As Irene travels from Seattle to Shanghai to the Cambodian jungles, she will encounter several equally determined companions, including a communist temple robber and a dashing nightclub owner with a complicated past. As she and her fellow adventurers sweep across borders and make startling discoveries, their quest becomes increasingly dangerous. Everyone who comes to this part of the world “has something to hide,” Irene is told — and she learns just how true this is. What she and her accomplices bring to light will do more than change history. It will ultimately solve the mysteries of their own lives.
"Fay's debut novel is a thrilling mix of adventure and personal discovery set in Southeast Asia in the 1920s. At the behest of her manipulative mentor, Henry Simms, unappreciated 29-year-old Irene Blum quits her job at Seattle's Brooke Museum and heads to Shanghai to persuade scholar-turned-revolutionary Simone Merlin to join her on a quest to locate 10 ancient Khmer scrolls, which discovery would allow Irene to open her own museum and finally get credit for her work and expertise. But when the duo find themselves with blood on their hands, they flee Shanghai and escape to the jungle. As they continue their hunt for the scrolls — pursued by authorities and keepers of Cambodia's cultural assets — they take on additional team members. Soon, each person's motives come to light, and secrets from the past begin to surface and threaten the mission. Setting the fraught inner terrain of her characters against the dynamic political and physical landscapes of the area, Fay crafts an intricate page-turner that will keep readers breathless and guessing. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, Linda Chester Literary. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Captivating...has all the makings of an Indiana Jones story, with equal doses of The Da Vinci Code, The Name of the Rose and The Bridges of Madison County.”
"Fay’s extraordinary first novel has everything great historical adventure fiction should — strikingly original setting, exhilarating plot twists, and a near-impossible quest....Every word of this evocative literary expedition feels deliberately chosen, each phrase full of meaning." Booklist, (starred review)
"Thrilling and ambitious, this is a book to get lost in, a book that homes in on the human drama of the quest and never lets go. A rich debut." BookPage
"[The Map of Lost Memories] is a thrilling mix of adventure and personal discovery set in Southeast Asia in the 1920s....Fay crafts an intricate page-turner that will keep readers breathless and guessing." Publishers Weekly
"Fay’s debut is intriguing, beautifully written, colorful and multilayered like a lovely tapestry." Romantic Times
“In The Map of Lost Memories, Kim Fay draws us into a universe as exotic, intense, and historically detailed as the ancient artifacts her unforgettable heroine seeks. It’s a deliciously unexpected journey: Indiana Jones meets Somerset Maugham meets Marguerite Duras; all culminating in a glorious traipse through a forgotten Asian world. This novel will stay with me for a long, long time.” Jennifer Cody Epstein, author of The Painter from Shanghai
“Kim Fay’s engaging debut novel, The Map of Lost Memories, not only weaves together a smart, compelling story of a quest for scrolls believed to contain the lost history of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer Empire, but also gives us a glimpse into 1920s China and Indochina during the time of transition from colonialism to the beginnings of communism. With deftness and clarity, Fay brings her world to life and gives us a captivating read.” Gail Tsukiyama, author of A Hundred Flowers
“In The Map of Lost Memories, Fay updates the archaeological adventure tale with an ambitious heroine and a cast of morally ambiguous characters in a race to discover an ancient temple in the jungles of colonial Cambodia. Fay's assured, absorbing prose will compel readers with its lush detail, multiple plot twists and keen insight into this politically combustible period of history.” Aimee Phan, author of The Reeducation of Cherry Truong
“Kim Fay breathes new and original life into the Westerner-in-Asia novel with The Map of Lost Memories, going beyond the intrigues of 1925 Shanghai to the remote reaches of the Cambodian jungle. An enchanting, absorbing first novel, all the more remarkable for its effortless portrayal of a bygone world, now nearly forgotten.” Nicole Mones, author of Lost in Translation
“The Map of Lost Memories is the best book I have read this year. Exotic, thrilling, and brimming with fascinating historical detail, it had me hooked from page one and sent me to a world I knew existed but never really understood, never really felt, until now. Kim Fay is a wonderful storyteller who truly masters the art of crafting a riveting story with heart and elegance. The result is utterly mesmerizing.” Anne Fortier, author of Juliet
“Kim Fay writes with such mesmerizing authority that it’s hard to believe that The Map of Lost Memories is her first novel. Rarely do we find a book that combines gripping adventure with exquisitely crafted prose, but Fay’s novel does just that, bringing together the beauty and complexity of Marguerite Duras’s The Lover with the thrilling breathlessness of Indiana Jones. The result is breathtaking.” Dana Sachs, author of If You Lived Here
About the Author
Born in Seattle and raised throughout the Pacific Northwest, Kim Fay lived in Vietnam for four years and still travels to Southeast Asia frequently. A former bookseller, she is the author of Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam, winner of the World Gourmand Cookbook Awards’ Best Asian Cuisine Book in the United States. She is also the creator/editor of a series of guidebooks on Southeast Asia. Fay now lives in Los Angeles. This is her first novel.
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