Monday, September 24, 2012

Blessed Be the Bloggers

I enjoy blogs. It's such a pleasure to read the insights of my friends around the world. I regularly follow Tone Deaf in Thailand, Garlic Never Sleeps and Andy's Cambodia. And I think blogs can be fun especially if you have a special interest. I remember when blogs started gaining legitimacy and I came across Chocolate & Zucchini and Orangette. Charming stories of life, love and kitchens paired with recipes—what more could a fan of MFK Fisher and Laurie Colwin want?

That said, I would by no means call myself a blog aficionado. This is why I’ve had such a wonderful time since the publication of my debut novel last month. I’ve discovered a whole blog genre: the book blog. In this world, people read books, they write about books and they share their love of books. And they do so not just as individuals. They are a connected community. And they are gracious. Oh so gracious!

So here at my own little blog, I want to give my thanks to the many bloggers who have offered such wonderful support for The Map of Lost Memories in so many varied ways, from reviews to interviews to invitations to write guest posts. Following are descriptions and excerpts, as well as links (just click the title) if you'd like to read more.


I had a fun time writing this article about Shanghai locales featured in my novel that still exist today.

Seattle Public Library's Shelf Talk
Asked to share some of my favorite books, I was inspired to write about my education in literature while working at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle.

Meg graciously invited me to write a post for her First Books column, about how my book came to be published.

Shelf Awareness: Inklings
This piece describes my experience with the editing process once my book was accepted for publication.

For this guest post I was asked to write a Books of a Lifetime column. The result: a tribute to Gone with the Wind.

Historical Tapestry
In this post I had a great time why I enjoy using setting as a character in my fiction.

For this fun blog, I was asked to look at page 69 of my novel and write about whether or not it represents the book and would entice readers.

My Book, The Movie
Another fun idea – casting my book. Although I was stumped when I realized my original casting choices had aged while my characters had not during the fourteen years it took me to write the novel!

This blogging trip down memory lane took me back to my teen years as a romance reader and reflections on how those books shaped me as a novelist.


Along with a lovely review, Reading the Past’s Sarah Johnson gave me the opportunity to answer some terrific interview questions.

Jo Barton was equally generous in reviewing my book and inviting me to answer these thoughtful interview questions.

I spent almost two hours on the phone with Krisen Hannum for this interview, and it was such a good time! I’m flattered by the thoroughness of her article.


From the review: The plot twists alone would make this an intriguing novel but Kim Fay has skillfully added well-researched history, intertwining the story of a vanished empire with the lives of her characters without making one false or stilted move.

From the review: Kim Fay’s extraordinary first novel has everything great historical adventure fiction should—a strikingly original setting, exhilarating plot twists, and a near-impossible quest. It stands out even more with its one-of-a-kind characters and sensitivity to colonialism’s harsh effects on the local populace, although its gutsy protagonist doesn’t initially share this concern.

From the review: Kim Fay is not only an engaging storyteller, but a beautiful writer who made me feel like I was in 1925 Shanghai (minus the cocaine), Saigon, and Cambodia. The smells, the clothes, the food–she covers it all. She also makes the reader think about ethical issues of art acquisitions, especially when it comes to art from occupied countries.

Crab & Nectar
From the review: Throughout the gilded brocade of her tale, [Fay] has embroidered an astonishing filigree of detail and dialogue. And her gift for getting inside each moment to reveal the complexities of its components yields a rare gestalt of storytelling at its best. Kim Fay's The Map of Lost Memories is a challenge for the intellect, a feast for the senses, and a literary valentine for the heart and soul of Cambodia. 

Garlic Never Sleeps
From the review: From the back alleys of Shanghai and Saigon, to humid jungles and magnificent temple ruins in Cambodia, Fay's vivid, atmospheric prose enables the reader to see and smell and feel the surroundings.

Book Babe
From the review: This is a story that is a blend of historical fiction, greed, determination, women making waves, anger, finger-pointing, and tied with an ending that just left me sitting there with my mouth hanging open.

From the review: This is an exciting historical thriller that brings to life China and Cambodia at a time when the West was still raiding national treasures. 

From the review: This is a marvelous book. The author describes Indochina so well you actually breathe in the heavily scented air and feel the slippery sweat on your skin … I highly recommend this book. The tension will keep you reading. The plot is fascinating and not unraveled until the very end, although the clues are provided throughout. I didn't want it to end. In fact, the ending made me wonder whether there will be a sequel.

From the review: The book is marvelous, escapist reading, layered with relationships, mysteries, and danger. The only thing that is certain is that there is no certainty- either of the success of their quest or of anyone’s motives. 

From the review: Set in 1925, this is a sophisticated adventure that takes place in Shanghai and Cambodia. The author draws the reader into an exotic universe as the search for lost treasure in Cambodia becomes an exciting tale of a female curator venturing into a man's world. 

For Winter Nights
From the review: The Map of Lost Memories is not your typical adventure story. It may feature the search for lost copper scrolls deep in the jungle of Cambodia and it may be steeped in the mysteries of a lost history but all of this serves as the grand and evocative backdrop for the tale of two young women back in the 1920s who are searching for the clues to an even greater puzzle - their own heritage and their purpose in this difficult and masculine environment ... The pace is leisurely and the novel is very much about the journey rather than the destination ... This is a fine novel, a literary adventure, that lingers in the mind, thanks to the wonderful portraits of Irene and Simone, and the atmosphere that seeps through the novel, evoking so strongly another place and time. If you can't appreciate the passion and courage of Irene or feel the heat and damp of the jungle, so beautifully described by Kim Fay, I'll be very surprised.

From the review: While the big draw for me was the setting, Shanghai and the Cambodian jungle in 1925, it was the characters that surprised me. Everyone has secrets so deeply ingrained it drug them all down and each and every character fought out of desperation; each not wanting to admit being wrong or to give in. The setting amplified every single flaw these characters carried.

From the review: Imagine if F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) had written Indiana Jones, with a female protagonist. There would be adventure, but there would also be lush, rich prose. There would be a treasure hunt (with snakes!), but there would also be seething emotional undercurrents, an exploration of twisted personalities and questionable motives. This is that book, the Map of Lost Memories, a debut historical fiction from Kim Fay. 

From the review: Part adventure (think Indiana Jones, but with a female lead), part quest, part mystery, The Map of Lost Memories is passionate, fast-paced, absorbing, and full of plot twists.  The lush, green vegetation of Cambodia and the rhythms, habits, and culture of the country come to life. 

From the review: This book was interesting, at times enthralling and had such depth of character that I had a hard time putting it down occasionally. It isn’t a blow everything up and edge of my seat adventure as the back may make it sound but instead a fascinating character novel with a touch of adventure and mystery. 

From the review: More than being about the adventure, I felt that this novel is about people, relationships and culture. This book is a realistic and methodical story outlining the difficulties in traveling halfway around the world to try and uncover a long-hidden secret while trying to stay beneath the radar and red tape of governments, museums and other treasure hunters. 

From the review: Have you ever wished for a female heroine that was a mash-up of Indiana Jones and a female Fitzgerald character? Have you ever been to Southeast Asia and wished some writer could bring you back there with vivid writing of places that you remember fondly? Have you ever wanted with a flip of a page to be transported back in time to a world between the wars? If you answered yes to any of these questions, immediately pick up Kim Fay’s terrific new book The Map of Lost Memories.

From the review: One of the things I was fearful of when I started reading – because I knew the story was mostly set in Shanghai and Cambodia – was the glorification or romanticism of colonialism. As I read, I was satisfied that wasn't going to happen. It showed a pretty honest view of how western cultures were forced on people on the east, and how this changed the natives of these countries, both for good and for worse.

From the review: Amazingly evocative of a time long past; the descriptions of the people and places Irene travels are mouth watering. Highly recommended.

From the review: Kim Fay's The Map of Lost Memories combines the 1925 exploits of a female Indiana Jones (her heroine Irene Blum who has always had a 'passion for Khmer studies') with a thought provoking subtext on the ethics of taking historical artefacts from the lands in which they are rooted for display in Western museums … The Map of Lost Memories is a wonderful read, thought provoking, rich in history, and filled with adventure and hints of romance - highly recommended.

From the review: An abundance of rich and varied characters combine to make this a really satisfying read. I read it over the space of several evenings, and found myself drawn into the story so much I didn’t notice the passage of time. I am sure that reading groups will enjoy discussing this book, as there’s enough factual history combined with an intrepid adventure story to occupy the most erudite of book clubbers!

The Reading Cafe
From the review: Kim Fay knocked it out of the park with this one ... The characters are so well written that you can't wait to see what happens next ... You can tell this [this] was definitely a labor of love for Fay. I can only hope that she doesn't stop here. I look forward to her next adventure. And hope that she doesn't make me wait too long. Very well done Ms. Fay, very well done.

Curled Up with a Good Book
From the review: Fay's novel is a fascinating study of humans at odds, a quest bringing four strangers together in an adventure of a lifetime.

I will continue adding to this list as more posts appear. Again, my boundless thanks to every one of these bloggers for taking the time to read The Map of Lost Memories and offering such gracious reviews.