Tuesday, 5 November 2019

#WorldReads - Five Books From Singapore

If this is your first visit to my WorldReads blog series, the idea of the posts is to encourage and promote the reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month I highlight five books I have read by authors from a particular country and you can see links to previous countries' posts at the end of this post as well as finding out how to join in the challenge.

Click the book titles or cover images to visit their Literary Flits book review pages.

This month we are going to Singapore!



Ponti by Sharlene Teo

2003. Singapore. Friendless and fatherless, sixteen-year-old Szu lives in the shadow of her mother Amisa, once a beautiful actress and now a hack medium performing séances with her sister in a rusty house. When Szu meets the privileged, acid-tongued Circe, they develop an intense friendship which offers Szu an escape from her mother’s alarming solitariness, and Circe a step closer to the fascinating, unknowable Amisa.

Seventeen years later, Circe is struggling through a divorce in fraught and ever-changing Singapore when a project comes up at work: a remake of the cult seventies horror film series ‘Ponti’, the very project that defined Amisa’s short-lived film career. Suddenly Circe is knocked off balance: by memories of the two women she once knew, by guilt, and by a past that threatens her conscience . . .



How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only three survivors, one of them a tiny child.

In a neighbouring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is bundled into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel. After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced there still haunts her.

And in the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is sitting beside his ailing grandmother when he overhears a mumbled confession.  He sets out to discover the truth, wherever it might lead, setting in motion a chain of events he could never have foreseen.

Weaving together two timelines and two very big secrets, this evocative, profoundly moving and utterly dazzling debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, and heralds the arrival of a thrilling new literary star.




Su Lin is doing her dream job: assistant at Singapore's brand new detective agency. Until Bald Bernie decides a 'local girl' can't be trusted with private investigations, and replaces her with a new secretary - pretty, privileged, and white. So Su Lin's not the only person finding it hard to mourn Bernie after he's found dead in the filing room. And when her best friend's dad is accused, she gets up to some sleuthing work of her own in a bid to clear his name.

Su Lin finds out that Bernie may have been working undercover, trading stolen diamonds for explosives from enemy troops. Was he really the upright English citizen he claimed to be?

Meanwhile, a famous assassin commits his worst crime yet, and disappears into thin air. Rumours spread that he may be dangerously close to home.

Beneath the stifling, cloudless Singaporean summer, earthquakes of chaos and political unrest are breaking out. When a tragic loss shakes Su Lin's personal world to its core, she becomes determined to find the truth. But in dark, hate-filled times, truth has a price - and Su Lin must decide how much she's willing to pay for it. 



Watching Aliens by Elancharan Gunasekaran

'Watching Aliens is beautifully spread across 500 pages. The work is a combination of short and full-length poetry. A versatile collection that embodies the observation of humans. Actions, feelings and situations that may seem so alien to us are in fact, things so common. We humans, in this digital age have lost what is commonly known as, personal touch. Watching Aliens, is inspired by Jack Kerouac's modern haikus and the need for an inclusive society in this current age of rapid modernisation.




Sarong Party Girls by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Just before her twenty-seventh birthday, Jazzy hatches a plan. Before the year is out, she and her best girlfriends will all have spectacular weddings to rich ang moh - Western expat - husbands, with Chanel babies to follow.

As Jazzy - razor-sharp and vulgar, yet vulnerable - fervently pursues her quest to find a white husband, the contentious gender politics and class tensions thrumming beneath the shiny exterior of Singapore's glamorous nightclubs are revealed. Desperate to move up in Asia's financial and international capital, will Jazzy and her friends succeed?

Vividly told in Singlish - colourful Singaporean English with its distinctive cadence and slang - Sarong Party Girls brilliantly captures the unique voice of a young, striving woman caught between worlds. With remarkable vibrancy and empathy, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan brings not only Jazzy, but her city of Singapore, to dazzling, dizzying life.


That's it for November's WorldReads from Singapore. I hope I have tempted you to try reading a book from this country and if you want more suggestions, click through to see all my Literary Flits reviews of Singaporean-authored books!

You can join in my WorldReads Challenge at any time! Simply read 1 or more books from a different country each month, write a post about it/them, grab the button below and add it to your post. Don't forget to pop back here and Comment your link so I can visit!




Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


If you missed any earlier WorldReads posts, I have already 'visited'

Africa: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe

Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, United States of America,

Asia: India, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, Syria, Turkey

Australasia: Australia, New Zealand,

Europe: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales

In December I will be highlighting five books by Chinese authors. See you on the 5th to find out which ones!

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for introducing me to some new books set in Singapore. Have you seen my Malaysia list?
    https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/2019/11/03/books-set-in-malaysia-my-personal-list-sundayblogshare/

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    1. I'm not sure if I knew aboit your Malaysian post? I've got my Malaysian-authors WorldReads scheduled for March next year!

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  2. They all sound like interesting reads.

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    1. I think How We Disappeared would be my favourite here, but it's a hard-hitting story

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  3. I don't think I've read anything from Singaporean authors before, so thanks for the recommendations!

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    1. I was surprised by the variety of books available to me from such a small country!

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  4. I've read a few set in Singapore over the years, most connected to the Japanese invasion during WWII. It's been a while since I read any though.

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    1. How We Disappeared would fit into that group. Such an awful situation

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  5. I really like the cover for The Paper Bark Tree Mystery.

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