Magical realism set in sunny Singapore. Who'd have thought of that? And it's so wonderfully executed too!
I bought this book while on a shopping spree last year and have only just gotten to read it. And what a marvellous book it is! Why has no one informed me of this existence of this book at all? It's a hidden gem amongst the numerous titles stocked at Books Actually.
Prose has never been Math Paper Press' strong suit, but this book of short stories pleasantly defies expectations.
I was hooked from the first story, which was set in ancient Singapore, featuring an Englishman shipwrecked on an island south of Singapore and strange happenings.
My favourite was "Ikan Berbudi (Wise Fish)" which was a delightful tale about a hawker selling fish head curry and her talking fish. It was brilliant!
The short 2-page stories were pretty good too. I enjoyed "Lion City Daikaiju" where Singapore's most famous landmarks like the Merlion, Raffles Hotel, the Esplanade and more took flight and went on a rampage in what was kinda an apocalyptic story except that Singapore ultimately wasn't destroyed but reborn.
I would recommend this to both Singaporeans and expatriates, although perhaps the former would better appreciate the nuances and flavours of our little island.