Our book club, Fiction&Friends, would like to point out a factual inaccuracy on page 13 of The Harmony Silk Factory:
"In 1947, my father installed the first flush cistern and septic tank north of Kuala Lumpur ..."
Jessica is aggrieved because the first flush toilet was in fact installed in her family house in Taiping in 1938. The house was the first one to be built of concrete in the town, and it was commandeered by the Japanese during the war.
Jessica is prepared to open up the toilet for public viewing ... for a fee.
This leads us to discuss the possibility of getting in ahead of Tourism Malaysia and organising our own Harmony Silk Factory Tour of Perak.
After all, something similar has been done in Britain with writers from the Brontes to the Bard.
The tour could take in all the places mentioned in the book and include, not only a visit to Jessica's family throne, but also a romp through the Cameron Highlands (and make it back to Kampar on foot in time for tea),
... a ride on a specially restored tin dredge (with costumed Mat Salleh bosses to shout at everyone) ...
... a now-you-see-it-now you-don't drive through the forest to Kellie's castle with twin sisters hawking fruit by the roadside ...
... and of course an optional boat trip out to the islands ...
... in a highly unseaworthy boat with self-assembly engine and no crew. (For this part of the trip, tourists would have to sign an indemnity clause covering both physical and psychological damage.) Accomodation would be provided in rest houses along the way (bathtowels and pontianak provided).
Think about it - the possibilities are endless!
Seriously, though, we had a really good evening discussing the book. There are many books which we enjoy reading, but which don't lend themselves to a deeper level of scrutiny. The many twists and turns and ambiguities of plot and different viewpoints of The Harmony Silk Factory provided us with one of the liveliest book debates in our three year history.
And how nice it is to read a book in which we recognise Malaysia.