Thursday, August 06, 2009

Evening is the whole day

I've recently finished Preeta Samarasan's novel - RRP hardback £16.99, I picked it up for £2.99 at Oxfam! I was a little apprehensive at first, wondering, probably unfairly, whether this was going to be pretentious and overbearing, but it exceeded my expectations. I'll probably go as far as saying it's the best Malaysian novel in English I ever read. Granted, that doesn't say much, considering I have not touched Rani Manicka, Tash Aw and Tan Twan Eng; my diet so far consisting of a few of the Silverfish collections, a tiny bit of K.S Maniam, and Adibah Amin in translation. And the last one probably doesn't count.

She exhibits very fine control over the narrative, subtly switching between the characters points of view and voice very well. The Manglish is spot on, and she captures the politics of family accurately enough that at times it made me squirm. I did feel Amma's transformation was a bit abrupt, and there were one or two things that didn't mesh perfectly, but those are rough edges that don't detract much from the overall novel.

Definitely worth picking up. I haven't given even a plot summary here, but for those of you who would like one, the NY Times review is your next click.

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