I had a lovely evening as moderator for Stephanie Suga Chen’s meet and greet at Books Actually last night. It was an excellent opportunity to talk to aspiring and published authors such as Aruna Shahani, as well as Ilangoh Thanabalan from Stephanie’s publisher, Straits Times Press. I also learned a lot more about Stephanie as a writer – she turned out a first draft of Travails of a Travelling Spouse in four weeks! Her book has now been on Singapore’s bestseller list for four weeks.
While there I picked up a copy of The Expats by Patricia Snel, another – but very different book – about expats in Singapore.
Books Actually is situated in a stunning historical district Tiong Bahru and has its own imprint Math Paper Press and all their currently available titles were on display.
I asked Theo A Gerken about his book, The Carrot Man and his experience writing it, and his answers are every bit as unconventional as his book.
How much of you (your experiences, your personality) is your characters?
The book is about 90 Continue reading “Interview: Theo A Gerken”
Stephanie Suga Chen, a US expatriate based in Singapore and author of Travails of Trailing Spouse that I reviewed here answered a few questions regarding her book and her life.
How much of you, your experiences, your personality, is your characters? Continue reading “Interview with Stephanie Suga Chen”
I came by the Carrot Man by Theo A Gerken via a really bad review. Someone declared that it was the worst book that she’d ever read.
In truth, it’s far more complex than that. It’s a well written book. Experimental and inventive and, thankfully, short. Continue reading “Review: The Carrot Man”
Being an expat in Singapore myself, I was instantly drawn to Stephanie Suga Chen’s Travails of a Trailing Spouse. Without a decapitated corpse or brutalised domestic worker in sight, Stephanie’s book offers a fresh perspective on the lives of women (and occasionally men) who move to Singapore with their partners and find themselves willingly or unwillingly unemployed. Continue reading “Review: Travails of a Trailing Spouse”
Body and Soul is heavy. Stories of abuse, poverty and failed parenting are always difficult to read and more so Ryan Guth’s book attempts to tackle the issue in poetry. He does it well. Cassandra’s story is painful and poignant. He creates her setting, a delinquent father and abusive grandfather and a mother in pursuit of love. Guth follows Cassandra as she falls apart and then as she tries to repair her life. Cassandra’s identity disorder adds stimulating dimensions to her experience and to Guth narrative.
Guth’s poetry is glorious: spare and powerful. However, the amalgamation of narrative forms at times takes away from the story and causes some confusion for the reader.
Overall, I highly recommend Body and Soul – with a caveat – it is not light reading. It will work well for fans of The Basketball Diaries. It’s the type of book best read in silence with few distractions. It will leave you thoughtful and will stay with you for a while.
Author: Ryan Guth
Available: Body and Soul