“And I struggle to find my place in this dark novel. I yearn for passion and despair for that is what makes good literature while Ishwari seeks a life of joy for herself and her son.”
A powerful novel about a woman who runs away from home, seeking to free herself from the shackles of society and familial attachments, and instead devote her attentions to writing a novel. When she realises that her five year old son Roo has followed her, Ishwari struggles with her identity as a mother and the responsibilities that brings, versus the guilty knowledge that she cannot want her own child when his existence requires her to suppress her own dreams.
Ishwari and Roo wander the streets at night, looking for a place to stay, until an elderly caretaker takes pity on them and offers them an empty room on the terrace of a guest house. Ishwari gets work as a caregiver to the handsome gentleman who lives next door, while Roo, who is lame, spends all day locked up in the room on the roof. Pulsating with raw energy, Abandon gives voice to the perpetual conflict between life and art.
In a pink-walled motel, a teenage prostitute brings a grown man to tears. A lovestruck young boy holds the dismembered hand of his crush, only to find himself the object of a complex ménage à trois. A naked body falls from the window of a twenty-storey building, while two female office workers offer each other consolation in the elevator…
In these wry and unsettling stories, Prabda Yoon once again illuminates something of the strangeness of modern cultural life in Bangkok. Disarming the reader with surprising charm, intensity and delicious horror, he explores what it means to have a body, and to interact with those of others.
‘There is an unforgettable, curious beauty to be found here.’ — Han Kang, Winner of the Man Booker International Prize
An oblique, hard-edged novel tinged with offbeat fantasy, One Hundred Shadows is set in a slum electronics market in central Seoul – an area earmarked for demolition in a city better known for its shiny skyscrapers and slick pop videos. Here, the awkward, tentative relationship between Eungyo and Mujae, who both dropped out of formal education to work as repair-shop assistants, is made yet more uncertain by their economic circumstances, while their matter-of-fact discussion of a strange recent development – the shadows of the slum’s inhabitants have started to ‘rise’ – leaves the reader to make up their own mind as to the nature of this shape-shifting tale.
Hwang’s spare prose is illuminated by arresting images, quirky dialogue and moments of great lyricism, crafting a deeply affecting novel of perfectly calibrated emotional restraint. Known for her interest in social minorities, Hwang eschews the dreary realism usually employed for such issues, without her social criticism being any less keen. As well as an important contribution to contemporary working-class literature, One Hundred Shadows depicts the little-known underside of a society which can be viciously superficial, complicating the shiny, ultra-modern face which South Korea presents to the world.
A woman arrives alone in Kolkata, taking refuge in a deserted apartment while she waits to undergo an unspecified surgery. In this disorienting city, everything seems new and strange: the pavement-dwellers outside her block, the collective displays of religiosity, the power cuts and alarming acts of arson. Her sense of identity already shaken, when she finds a stained pair of leopard print panties in the otherwise-empty wardrobe she begins to fantasise about their former owner, whose imagined life comes to blur with and overlap her own.
Pairing manic energy with dark eroticism, Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay’s writing has a surreal, feverish quality, slipping between fluid subjects with great stylistic daring. Credited with being the woman who reintroduced hardcore sexuality into Bengali literature, Bandyopadhyay is neither superficial nor sensationalistic, equally concerned with debates on religion and nationhood as with gender and sexuality.
The Impossible Fairy Tale tells the story of the nameless ‘Child’, who struggles to make a mark on the world, and her classmate Mia, whose spoiled life is everything the Child’s is not.
At school, adults are nearly invisible, and the society the children create on their own is marked by cruelty, soul-crushing hierarchies and an underlying menace. Then, one day after hours, the Child sneaks into the classroom to add ominous sentences to her classmates’ notebooks, unlocking a series of events with cataclysmically horrible consequences. But that is not the end of this eerie, unpredictable novel…