This three-part novel, set in Malaysia , is an intriguing story – containing elements of family saga, gangster underworld and whodunit. The first part tells the story through the eyes of the son, part two is the mother’s diary and part three is the reminiscence of an Englishman resident in Malaysia for most of his life. Each person tells the story of Johnny Lim – father, husband and friend.
Johnny’s early life is spent in the Kinta Valley as a nobody drifting from town to town. Eventually he is employed in a textile shop which ultimately leads to him meeting the beautiful Snow Soong, daughter of the valley’s wealthiest man.
In 1940 they travel, on a belated honeymoon, in the company of a strange mix of men – two Englishmen and a Japanese professor – to the legendary Seven Maiden Islands . One of these men is aesthete Peter Wormwood who is fascinated by Snow.
This is a compelling novel that works on many levels. The author provides an insight into the situation of the Chinese in Malaysia and the dilemmas facing a population about to be overrun by another nation. The Harmony Silk Factory is also a powerful love story.