Surely one of the best stories I’ve read this year.
It comes on again on her grandson’s christening day. A lost moment, a blank spot, one that Carole does not know how to measure. She is there one second, then she is not. She knows exactly where she is, then she does not. Her older church friends tell similar stories about their surgeries, how they count backward from ten with an oxygen mask over their faces, then wake up before reaching one, only to find that hours, and sometimes even days, have gone by. She feels as though she were experiencing the same thing.
Her son-in-law, James, a dreadlocked high-school math teacher, is holding her grandson, Jude, who has inherited her daughter’s globe-shaped head, penny-colored skin, and long fingers, which he wraps around Carole’s chin whenever she holds him. Jude is a lively giggler. His whole body shakes when he laughs. Carole often stares at him for hours, hoping that his chubby face will bring back memories of her own children at that age, memories that are quickly slipping away.
continued on the New Yorker
Continue reading “Curated: Sunrise Sunset by Edwidge Danticat”
Set in recognisably human times, the Violinist by CR Tyra tells a story of monsters and those they prey upon. Continue reading “Review: The Violinist by CR Tyra”
I had the great pleasure to meet author Clarissa Goenawan at On Rain, a book reading held by Sing Lit Station. Since we had the opportunity to chat about her book, Rainbirds, beforehand, I have to confess to having been biased in her favour when reading it. Continue reading “Review: Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan”
This is a short story from my archives. It was published as part of the Crossing Borders project run by the British Council. The story is set in Dublin, where I was living at time and brings back some wonderful memories. Enjoy!
Varying Hues of Solitude
8:30 Thursday night: as usual the door opened and he appeared. Tonight’s slight variation was that he carried a little black umbrella that he shook gently, letting the water run onto the floor. He quickly glanced around and then slid into his usual seat where he blended into the shadows obscured in the near dark.
Continue reading “Short Fiction: Varying Hues of Solitude”
In The Last Immigrant by Lau Siew Mei, an Australian born and raised in Singapore, Ismael battles loss and isolation in a nation increasing intolerant towards migrants.
Ismael, like his creator, is a Singaporean migrant to Australia where he’s established an ordinary life in the suburbs. His work is dull and unfulfilling and does not promise any change or promotion, though it significant as it is in the immigration department deciding who to allow into “Fortress Australia”.
When his neighbour – a friend – commits suicide, Ismail is set adrift on an emotional journey through his Iranian and Peranakan heritage, his stint in the United States and his Australian present.
I found the most poignant aspect of the book to be the death of his wife Nat, who eschews modern cancer treatment for prayer and homeopathic treatment. It’s a slow and painful death and perhaps the strongest element of the book.
After Ismael’s wife’s death, his daughter abandons him almost immediately and his cat disappears. I felt that this second section was distinctly weaker than the first. An onslaught of characters pushes Ismael to the side and I began to wonder whose story was being told. Elements of the supernatural enter and I felt they were not very well blended into the narrative.
Nonetheless, it’s a good addition to the Singapore literary canon and was longlisted for the 2016 Epigram Books Fiction Prize. I’d recommend it to those who like a touch of mysticism with their books.
Julian Barnes is one of my favourite writers. Before reading The Only Story, I listened to an interview with Julian Barnes on Open Book by Mariella Frostrup on BBC Radio. It whetted my appetite, Julian Barnes is as eloquent on the page as he is on paper. Continue reading “Review: The Only Story”
“Please remember that this is a work of fiction.” AG Mogan implores the reader in her prologue. Indeed we must, Adolf Hitler is one of the most hated men in history – Mogan should be commended for her bravery before anything else. Continue reading “Review: The Secret Journals of Adolf Hitler: The Anointed”