HONG KONG (AP) — Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng’s novel “The Garden of Evening Mists” has won the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize.

Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng. Pic: AP.

Tan’s novel is set in the traumatic aftermath of Japan’s wartime occupation of Malaya, now known as Malaysia. It tells the story of a young law school graduate who is the sole survivor of a Japanese work camp. She encounters the secretive owner and creator of the country’s only Japanese garden.

The judges called it “a novel of subtle power and redemptive grace.”

The book beat four others Thursday night to win the $30,000 award, one of Asia’s most prestigious. Tan’s book is only the second winner to be written in English.

Tan worked as an intellectual property lawyer before becoming an author. He has written one other novel.

The other novels on the short list were “Between Clay and Dust” by Musharraf Ali Farooqi of Pakistan, “The Briefcase” by Hiromi Kawakami of Japan, “Silent House” by Orhan Pamuk of Turkey and “Narcopolis” by Jeet Thayil of India.