Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Shih-Li's Ripples

Raman was kind enough to give me a copy of Shih-Li Kow's collection Ripples and Other Stories when I dropped by the shop this afternoon. I really want to read it, especially after reading Amir Muhammad's praise for it in the Malay Mail.

(Really - blessings be on Amir's head for making such an effort to write about Malaysian books in his Pulp Friction columns, which you can read here. And in this case, I was amazed that this review was published even before I was aware the book was out!! No flies on this guy.)

But we're talking about Shih-Li, about whose contribution to the earlier Silverfish collection News from Home, had me saying that that sampler:
... left me hungry for much much more from this writer ...
Raman stuck a press release in the bag with the book. He says he has decided to nominate her for the Commonwealth Writers Prize in the South East Asia and South Pacific First book category. I hope it can also be entered (following Wena's lead) for the Frank O'Connor.
We have no hesitiation in pronouncing this one collection of short stories Malaysians can be proud of. There is no 'cringe' factor here. Shih-Li kow proves that we don't have to leave the country and live elsewhere to be a good writer. She will inspire many.
says Raman, who also tells us that :
Ripples and other Stories was a pleasure to work with. it is not often that a publisher says this because writers can be notoriously precious about their work (even when it is not very good). waiting for them to fisnihs writing to a dateline is bad enough. and once they have finsihed the first draft, they think that they are done, that their work is perfect. It is normally impossible to get them to rewrite anything. ... But not with Shih-Li Kow. She promised to send her work in by the end of October, and she did, despite her hectic work and home-making schedule. She works as an executive for six days a week while bringing up her ten-year-old son, Jack. While other writers expend their creativity in cooking up excuses for not completing their work, Shi-Li uses her creativity to write. And when she was told that she would have to tweak her work a little more, she had no hesitation. She is a perfectionist who takes pride in her work and would not allow anything she is not absolutely satisfied with to be published.
Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. I'll be letting you know how it tastes.


Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read this -- I read Amir's review of it too. My congratulations to Shih-Li on the publication of her book, and may many good things follow!

But, er, did anyone *ever* say that one had to leave the country and live elsewhere to be a good writer?!?!?

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

Finally... do we have a good anthology? waiting for this one too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon,
Why do most people mistaken deadline for dateline?

Sirius B said...

Bought this book as it was right at the Border's front cashier area. I know I had to part with my RM24 after I read the first paragraph at the back cover. It went:

In the dark cinema, while her pulse rate was heightened ever so slightly watching the chase scene, she thought briefly about whther she had enough loose change for the parking machine which sometimes rejected five ringgit notes. When the credits rolled, she shecked her purse, reassured herself that she had and missed the name of the actor who played the district attorney....

I havent read anything like that since Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things. I love the flow of language. Smooth like my favorite cup of coffee. I also love the cover and I especially love the pages within, the font etc. Wonderfully and perfectly done. But most of all I love the stories.