The Map Of Lost Memories by Kim Fay - 326 pages
In 1925 the international treasure-hunting scene is a man’s world, and no one understands this better than Irene Blum, who is passed over for a coveted museum curatorship because she is a woman. Seeking to restore her reputation, she sets off from Seattle in search of a temple believed to house the lost history of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer civilization. But she soon discovers that her quest to make the greatest archaeological discovery of the century is also a quest for the secrets of her family's own past. And as she travels through Shanghai's lawless back streets and Saigon’s opium-filled lanes to reach the Cambodian jungle, she does not know who to trust. A drug-addled temple robber, Simone Merlin seems to take pleasure in complicating the expedition, while jaded nightclub owner Marc Rafferty reveals a troublesome childhood mysteriously entwined with Irene’s. Even her own mentor, a notorious collector of stolen art, becomes suspect when Irene uncovers his connection to her companions.
Set against a backdrop of colonialism, revolutionary politics and the ruthless art world of the early 1900s, The Map of Lost Memories takes readers on a seductive journey into a forgotten era where nothing is as it seems. As Irene and her fellow adventurers travel into the humidity-soaked jungle, little do they know that what they eventually bring to light will do more than change history … It will ultimately solve the mysteries of their own lives.
My Review: 3 stars
This book had been touted as an Indiana Jones like adventure story with a woman heroine and although out of my comfort zone, I dug right in. This book is a fast read but not nearly the amount of adventure I imagined. I liked this book a lot and most likely because it’s different than most of the books I read. The character development was quite good and the connections between characters were often surprising yet they worked well. I learned so very much in this book about Shanghai, the Khmer people and ancient Cambodia. I’ve read many historical fiction books about finding lost art that had been stolen during WW2, yet I’d never imagined the diligence, power-plays and research that goes into finding ancient relics for museums. The book wraps up nicely and once you start, you’ll certainly want to finish just to learn how the adventures ends and what they discover.
Quotes I liked:
- “The one thing to remember on an adventure is that if it turns out the way you expect it to, it has not been an adventure at all.”
- “What do you mean, the other side?”
“The place where one feels truly alive. Too many people surrender to a place of safety. That place where all they do is long to sleep so they can dream about living. Even if you don’t find what you think you’re looking for, darling, it’s the going out and looking for it that counts. That is only way you can know you have lived.”
- “...I didn’t listen because I wanted to hear something else. I wanted someone who understood me. Who desired what I desired.”
- “Superstition has always fascinated me, how half of the world has found a way past it - the advanced half, I might add- and the other half is still dominated by it.”
Tags: 2013, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Adventure, Art
Labels: 2013, Adventure, Art, Historical Fiction, Mystery