Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Moth by Leonora Liow

I take back what I said in my previous post. You really can't judge a book by its cover. For a book with such a horrendous cover, I was stunned to find a couple of gems in it. Some of these short stories are positively jewels in this maiden collection by Leonora Liow.

This is one of the best pieces of Singapore Literature I've had the pleasure of reviewing this entire year. And trust me, I've read a lot of books. It's perhaps not surprising to find out that the author won the Golden Point award in 2003.

In this book, the pieces I found the most interesting build on the tension inherent in parent-child relationships very well. At least 3 stories feature that particular dynamic and having grown up locally, I could readily identify with the struggles the protagonists faced. Stories on forbidden love (aka extra-martial affairs) are an especially good read where the thought processes and emotional landscape of each character are assiduously drawn out.

Captivating the reader from the very first story, the author manages to weave in a very Singaporean setting in 10 short stories with excellent character development that makes one sympathise with the protagonist of each story. Reading this book reminds me of the brilliant pieces of short stories (The Scarlet Ibis, etc.) I was exposed to in high school. Teachers of English and of Literature, this is one book you should get. I assure you, you will not be disappointed.

I personally favour this book over Amanda Lee-Koe's Ministry of Moral Panic that won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2014. This is a seriously good read. I guess the only bad thing about it is that one cannot consume too many short stories in the span of a single day. The truth hurts and it can get a bit depressing because the stories might hit very close to home. At least it did for me. Consider this fair warning.

You can order this book online from Ethos Books or get it at Kinokuniya Singapore. Grab your copy today!

Disclaimer: The publisher sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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