Saturday, December 22, 2007

Monsoon Season

Publisher Philip Tatham of Monsoon Books in Singapore is steadily building up a very interesting list of publications that includes fiction, non-fiction, memoir, stirring tales of real-life adventure, accounts of historical interest ... and even erotica!

He has been very kind sending me copies of his latest publications. The latest parcel contained a copy of Awang Goneng's Growing Up in Trengganu which I'm currently enjoying and will blog about very soon (and do come and meet the author next Saturday at Seksan's!) and three other books which look rather good:

First a true life adventure - The Boat by Walter Gibson:

In 1942 a ship carrying 500 escapees from Japanese-occupied Singapore set sail from Padang for Ceylon. Halfway to safety she was torpedoed and sank. Amidst the horror and confusion, only one lifeboat was launched—a lifeboat built to carry twenty-eight but to which 135 souls now looked to for salvation. For twenty-six days she drifted across the Indian Ocean. For twenty-six days, cannibalism, murder, heroism and self-sacrifice drifted with her. When the lifeboat finally ran aground on the island of Sipora, off Sumatra, only four had survived: two Javanese seamen, a Chinese girl, Doris Lim, and Walter Gibson of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The Boat is Walter Gibson's true account of that horrific event. He captures vividly the mental trauma, the physical pain, the decision to kill or be killed but above all, the determination not to die.

Then there's Suchen Christine Lim's new collection of short fiction The Lies that Build a Marriage:

A mother finds out her son is gay; a daughter finds out her two mothers are lesbians; a niece stumbles upon the body of her dead uncle dressed in his wife's sarong kebaya; and an old man's nascent feelings for a Filipino maid lead him back to his suppressed art.

The Lies That Build A Marriage, Suchen Christine Lim's short stories of the unsung, unsaid and uncelebrated in Singapore, delve beneath the sunlit island's prosperity and coded decorum. Her characters chip away prejudice and sculpt it into acceptance of the other.
And then there's Indiscreet Memories: 1901 Singapore Through the Eyes of a Colonial Englishman:
Stepping off the SS Hamburg on a moonlit night in January 1901, Edwin A. Brown knew little about his new home—the Straits Settlement of Singapore. Through diary extracts and personal memories, this young Englishman brings to life characters and events in a country few would recognise today. Life for the early settlers was always eventful. Entertainment came in the form of comic operas, visiting circuses, balls at Government House and socialising at the Tingel Tangel dance hall. There were rickshaw strikes, sightings of a sea serpent in the Singapore harbour, Sunday morning horse rides around the Settlement and tigers causing havoc in Chinatown. From the death of Queen Victoria and the coronation of King Edward to the decision by Straits-born Chinese to discard their towchang (queues), we come to understand how historical events shaped and affected the society of the day. Indiscreet Memories is one man's true account of life in Singapore as it was over a hundred years ago.
And here's some good news from Philip for all those who like cheap books and free stuff:
Cheapies: We're offering 30% off all books (for the next few months) to celebrate our new website. The may not be of much interest to Malaysians since we already discount our books for the price-conscious Malaysian market but it's a great bargain for your readers living outside Malaysia. Here.

Freebies: We're offering free books every month! This month we're giving away copies of Nigel Barley's "Rogue Raider". Here.
It's all good news.


Amir said...

Yes, I do have two of their books, quite nice.

Is it true that Malaysian buyers are more price-conscious than Singaporean ones? Meaning, our demand curve is more elastic? I wonder if he will elaborate on this.

Anonymous said...

No actually I think Malaysian buyers buy what everyone else buys.