The book curates the finest short fiction from Singapore writers published in 2011 and 2012. The twenty stories, edited by Jason Erik Lunberg, are mostly written by familiar names such as Amanda Lee Koe, Dave Chua, Cyril Wong, Verena Tay, O Tham Chin and Alfian Sa’at.
Most stories are set in Singapore, although not necessarily Modern Singapore, such as this amusing one about Agnes Joaquim, Bioterrorist by Ng Yi-Sheng, whose writing I thought reflects the 19th century Britishness ala Jane Austen, as his story is set in 1889. I thought his is among the rare new writers whose stories I enjoy.
I noted that I prefer those writings by the ‘older’ writers. One quirky story is Dave Chua’s The Tiger of 142B. S Rajaratnam had also similarly written a short story about a Tiger in Singapore but what if the tiger is right in your HDB block and had mutilated your neighbours but only a few people has seen it? Would you believe your eyes?
O Tham Chin’s gave his story Sleeping, a sensitive and almost romantic touch, as did Alfian Sa’at’s The Borrowed Boy, a rare perspective of a Malay family celebrating Hari Raya.
What I like about this book is that it included stories, albeit only one each, by Indian and Malay writers, and thus giving us the perspectives other than Chinese. Incidentally, I wonder if Amanda Lee Koe’s Randy’s Rotisserie, who attempts to combine the double meaning of ‘chicken’ in the US would be lost to international readers.
The diversity of the pieces found in this collection gives the reader a surprising and refreshing read. Do support by reading, as I hope some day to be feature in another collection as well.