Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Red Affairs, White Affairs by Felicia Nay

Felicia Nay was born in Germany and spent part of her childhood in Spain. Later, she studied in China and worked in Hong Kong. She now lives again in Germany. Red Affairs, White Affairs is her first novel.

Set in Hong Kong around the turn of the millennium, Red Affairs, White Affairs is told by Reini ‘Kim’ Kranich, a German aid worker who works for an NGO. Hope is the thing with feathers, above the South China Sea as much as anywhere, bird-watching Reini notes about the city. Hope, or the absence of it, features daily in her work with abused Filipino migrant workers, but also in the life of her Chinese friend Virginia, who desperately wants to marry. When Reini learns that Virginia’s mother is dying of cancer, she soon finds herself struggling with her friend’s faith and family values. A lukewarm Catholic herself, Reini’s worldview is further challenged when she meets Ben Chan, a Buddhist fundraiser.

So, over to Felicia to talk about Red Affairs, White Affairs...

Thursday, 14 November 2019

All She Was Worth - A Noir Mystery set in Japan's Bubble Economy


All She Was Worth is a 1992 noir mystery written by Miyuki Miyabe, one of Japan's most famous genre writers, including crime fiction. Taking place in the early 1990s, the novel captures the zeitgeist of the Bubble Economy of the 80s/early 90s, which would soon pop and led to the infamous "Lost Decade."

Thursday, 31 October 2019

4 Edogawa Ranpo Horror Stories

Edogawa Ranpo is synonymous with Japanese horror and mystery fiction. Using a pen name based off of Edgar Allen Poe, (try saying it three times fast), Taro Hirai wrote many short stories and novels as Ranpo (sometimes Romanized as Rampo).



Monday, 28 October 2019

Sun Jung, author of Bukit Brown, chats with Elaine Chiew

Sun Jung received her Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne and was a research fellow at both Victoria University and the National University of Singapore. Prior to her academic career, she worked as a writer for media production companies and cultural magazines in Los Angeles and Seoul. During this time, she also collaborated with Korean film producers on script development. Ever since her first visit in 2012 to Bukit Brown, one of the largest Chinese cemeteries outside of China, she has been fascinated by the stories of those who were buried there. After leaving her academic career behind, she devoted herself to writing this novel inspired by some of these tales. Previous published works were her book of essays, The Letter, I Sent You (1991) and her academic book Korean Masculinities and Transcultural Consumption(2011).

Book Synopsis:

Bukit Brown follows the gripping journey of Ji-won, lonely and lost in modern day cosmopolitan Singapore, who time travels to nineteenth century British Malaya and finds her true self through experiencing the deplorable lives of migrant workers, the veiled enmity between Chinese secret societies and a lavish Peranakan lifestyle.

The novel begins with Hong-jo receiving an email from her old friend Ji-won, who ardently requests her to come to Singapore. However, upon arriving in Singapore, Hong-jo learns that Ji-won has taken her own life, three days prior. In addition, Julian, a friend of Ji-won, informs Hong-jo that she had time-travelled through a grave in Bukit Brown, the very same grave where Ji-won eventually hanged herself. Hong-jo and Julian learn that Ji-won had time travelled four times – Penang in 1862 and 1865, Singapore in 894 and 1959 – and they gradually uncover the truth behind her mysterious death. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

My Travels in Ding Yi. Nicky Harman looks at the latest translated novel from Shi Tiesheng


One of the most interesting novels to come out in translation this year is My Travels in Ding Yi (ACA Publishing, 2019) by Shi Tiesheng (1951-2010). 

Shi's writing ranges widely, from disability, to reflections on philosophy and religion, to magical surrealism, to an entertaining vignette on football and a meditation on his local park and his mother. However, he first became famous for writing his personal experiences of being disabled. One of his most famous short stories is The Temple of Earth and I  (translated by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping), in which he talks movingly about the frustrations he faced, and how he and his mother struggled to cope. Back in the 1980s, discrimination against the disabled was embedded into the language and society alike. Sarah Dauncey in her paper, Writing Disability into Modern Chinese Fiction, Chinese Literature Today, 6:1 (2017) says that '...canfei 残废 (invalids) was still the accepted equivalent to the English terms disability and disabled with all its retained connotations of uselessness and rubbish as reflected in particular by the fei 废 character.'

Friday, 17 May 2019

Destination Shanghai by Paul French

Paul French, the bestselling author of Midnight in Peking and City of Devils, writes Asian Books Blog's monthly Tsundoku column.  He here talks about the research behind another of his recent books, Destination Shanghai, first in a projected series.

Destination Shanghai is, I hope, the first in a series of books about various foreigners passing through, living and often dying in Asia. I started with Shanghai as it’s where I lived for many years, but am moving on with Destination Peking, Hong Kong, Singapore and then who knows where…

I realised that after thirty-something years of studying Asia I had a wealth of stories that could be gathered into these books – on my blog, in notebooks, in magazines and literary journals as well as in my head. As often, I’ve avoided telling stories of dry missionaries, self-aggrandizing businessmen or pompous diplomats. I prefer writers and artists, bohemian sojourners and my favoured writing territory of the demi-monde of Asian port city life – the showgirls, grifters, conmen and gangsters that proliferated. So, Destination Shanghai has the stories of Russian émigrés, Jewish refugees from the Nazis, conmen on the run, pimps and prostitutes falling out, Shanghai nightclub dancers who made it to Hollywood, movie stars passing through and a motley assortment of strange types who landed on the Bund over the years.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Introducing Ryu Murakami

Ryu Murakami is a Japanese novelist, short story writer, essayist and filmmaker. He explores human nature through dark themes of disillusion, drug use, murder and war, giving his work a surrealist, sinister air.  He is perhaps less well-known internationally than he deserves to be.  Singapore-based Piers Butel, who writes on culture and travel, here urges you to read him.

Scenes of staggering violence, a cast of misfits and outsiders, a twisted world that seems familiar but also deeply disturbing and a feeling that things probably won’t end up all right. The novels of Ryu Murakami are not always easy to read, but with drumming heartbeat-fast plots, cinematic sheen and a unique style, you won’t have time to be bored.