From an award-winning Singaporean novelist comes a multi-layered tale about love, sisterhood, spousal abuse, and Cantonese opera in the lives of three generations of women—all set against the dramatic sweep of Singapore's development
The famous cross-dressing Cantonese opera singer Chan Kam Foong passes away, leaving her secret journal to her granddaughter, Xiu Yin, an archival officer at the Singapore National Archives.
Xiu Yin reads through the journal that chronicles her grandmother’s relationship with Dearest Intimate in their village in China to their respective escapes to the Nanyang before WWII and her desperate search for Dearest Intimate in Singapore. Her grandmother’s reflections and letters to Dearest Intimate forces Xiu Yin to examine her marriage to an abusive husband and she plucks up the courage to leave him.
A surprise encounter with her first love, a rising Cantonese opera singer, brings a period of calm and joy. But when Meng proposes marriage, Xiu Yin backs off and he leaves for Hong Kong. It takes three years of loneliness and letter writing before they reunite again.
About the Author
Suchen Christine Lim was born in the Malaysian state of Perak and came to Singapore at the age of 14. After graduation, she taught in a junior college and worked as a curriculum specialist in the Ministry of Education. In 2003, she resigned to write full time.
Suchen was awarded the inaugural Singapore Literature Prize for Fistful of Colours in 1992. Among other acclaimed works are her debut novel Rice Bowl (1984), A Bit of Earth (2001) and The River’s Song (2014), which was one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books Of 2015. In 2012, she was awarded the Southeast Asia Write Award for her body of work.
Awarded a Fullbright grant, Suchen was a Fellow in the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program and later became its Writer in Residence. She was also a Fellow in Creative Writing at the Nanyang Technological University.
"Singaporean novelist Lim paints an evocative, atmospheric portrait of old Singapore. . . . A fine, deeply felt saga of lives caught up in progress that’s as heartbreaking as it is hopeful." —Kirkus Reviews on The River's Song