Author: Catalina Rembuyan

BOOK REVIEW | Coitus Interruptus and Other Stories

Author : Malachi Edwin Vethamani Genre : Short stories Novel Pages : 92 I did not quite expect to like Coitus Interruptus and Other Stories as much as I did. The not-very suggestive title denotes the interruption of a sexual act, and someone could be forgiven for mistaking the book for a collection of erotica. I’m glad that I gave this book a chance. Coitus Interruptus and Other Stories shows that Malachi Edwin Vethamani, already very well-received as a poet of two collections – Complicated Lives (2016) and Life Happens (2017) – is an adept and emphatic writer of short...

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BOOK REVIEW | The Tudung Anthology

Editor               : Azalia Zaharuddin Publisher          : Matahari Books Genre               : Various (Fiction and Non-Fiction) No. of pages    :  201 In the preface for The Tudung Anthology, Azalia Zaharudin states that the book is a collection of personal reactions to the ‘never-ending questions and judgments, be it from Muslims or non-Muslims’ by ‘women from different walks of life’. Its aim is to provide a ‘bigger picture’ on the wearing of the tudung beyond choices of wearing it or not, and (perhaps as an attempt to steer accusations of challenging religious dictates away) it is emphasized to be ‘not a religious...

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BOOK REVIEW | Ho Khong Ming’s The Tiger and the Leopardess

Author : Ho Khong Ming Publisher : Gerakbudaya Genre : Fiction Novel Pages : 194 The Tiger and the Leopardess is a unique novel with an interesting history. In its preface, the author mentions publishing its earlier edition with the now defunct Partridge, a pay-to-publish outlet that had been acquired by Penguin Random House. Paying to publish (or vanity publishing as it is sometimes derogatorily called) is a form of self-publishing that hasn’t been regarded kindly by some members of the reading public, it gives authors the freedom to work with diverse material that conventional publishers may be less willing...

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Book Review | Paul Callan’s The Brigadier’s Daughter

Author: Paul Callan Publisher: Epigram Books Page numbers: 256 How historically accurate should historical fiction be? The label ‘historical fiction’ is somewhat paradoxical: fiction is untrue, whereas history is a narrative connecting events and occurrences that are true. The genre has included a large range of literary works with varied treatment of accuracy, and how well a work of historical fiction is received will depend on how much history its readers expect to find. This is the basis for both my praise and criticism of The Brigadier’s Daughter, Paul Callan’s third work of historical fiction set in Malaysia (or...

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Book Review | Bernice Chauly’s Once We Were There

Author: Bernice Chauly Publisher: Epigram Books Page numbers: 351 Bernice Chauly’s Once We Were There is a love letter and a scathing, unflinching criticism of Kuala Lumpur’s liberal, politically aware, but ultimately hedonistic and self-indulgent of community of upper-middle class professionals who desire political reformation but are unable to deliver it. I first learned that Bernice Chauly was writing ‘a novel about the Reformasi’ at the London Book Fair. I’d already been living in Singapore for a few months and my time at the Fixi London booth was like a homecoming abroad, and like all homecomings it has its...

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