There’s something about Asia and noir that I can’t resist. Maybe it’s gory front pages of tabloid papers in normally safe cities like Hong Kong or the dichotomy between sin and sainthood in Bangkok. But whatever it is, it works in Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan’s Singapore Noir (Akashic, 2014).
The book launched this week and Tan, the editor of the book, is taking it on a whirlwind tour across the US and Asia. You know I’ll be at the reading in Chicago on June 27th!
Singapore Noir includes fourteen essays that shed new light on a city-state known for caning and uber-strict littering laws. Cheryl Tan wanted to show a different side to her hometown and from the very beginning of this book it’s clear she does just that.
Some of my favorites include Tan’s own story set in a traditional fishing community far from tourist and expat enclaves. I also enjoyed a story by Colin Cheong about a taxi uncle (driver) who finds a gun in his cab that will forever change his life.
Two other essays stood out to me because they showed how difficult it can be for expats sometimes. Lawrence Osborne’s tells of a Japanese couple who develop marital problems in Singapore until a bit of supernatural intervention saves the day. (I’m not usually into the paranormal, but with Lawrence Osborne it always works!). The other is SJ Rozan’s story about an American expat couple that moves around a lot and settles in Singapore before disaster strikes.
If you’re in Chicago on June 27th, come out to the reading at Women and Children First at 7:30 p.m. And for other US tour stops, check the listings here.