Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Reads: Tropical Madness

Bitten by the reading bug, another book is down. This time it's Tropical Madness by Marc de Faoite.

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This is a collection of 18 short stories, set in Malaysia with some sort of tie with our muddy confluence, KL (iterated as Kay El in the book). When I read the Fixi NOVO manifesto right before the credits page, I was amused as one of the points was that any reference to non-English words/terms would not be italicised (italics is a form of apology). This is so true, I don't know why I even do it sometimes!

Anyway it was a refreshing read, as honestly I don't read much of local literature (maybe I should start for 2017. Any good ones to recommend?). I liked the author's writing style - easy to read with much description of the surrounding environment and climate. The stories were like snippets from the main characters' lives, which leaves a little mystery of why it was so and what happened in the end. It gave glimpses into the lives of different classes in the Malaysian society - from the rich to the poor villagers, expat to the foreign workers. A peep into the minds of those living under social stigma and oppression, which we barely bat an eyelash thinking about on a normal day. Quite a few stories centred back to the fictional Taman Ayer Jingga, which seems to be in the outskirts of Kay El. There was use of Manglish, but not as much as I thought would be used.

From the last book I read, I was looking for more happy endings. Unfortunately, I did not get that wish with this read (which is totally not the book's fault - well, the title says it all! haha). Most of the stories had some elements of murder, death or curse by bomohs. However, in my perspective as a reader, these losses were framed to be like they were just a matter of fact of life and that none of the vehement blame should be on a particular character - that was a bit eerie.

But all in all, it was a good read. More relatable in some ways. Ooh, and the paper quality was quite good, thicker than other books I usually read. A few slight typo errors here and there.

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