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Additional Information
ISBN: 9781931883986
Pages: 240
Size: 5 x 8
Publication Date: April 14, 2020
Distributed By: Publishers Group West
Author
Ho Sok Fong is the author of the short story collections Lake Like a Mirror (Two Lines Press) and Maze Carpet. Her literary awards include the Chiu Ko Fiction Prize (2015), the 25th China Times Short Story Prize, and the 30th United Press Short Story Prize. She has a PhD in Chinese Language & Literature from NTU Singapore, and lives in Malaysia.
Translator
Natascha Bruce translates fiction from Chinese. Her work includes short stories by Hong Kong surrealist writer Dorothy Tse, Lonely Face by Singapore's Yeng Pway Ngon and, with Nicky Harman, A Classic Tragedy by Xu Xiaobin.

Lake Like a Mirror

by Ho Sok Fong
Translated from Chinese by
Natascha Bruce
$16.95

“The most accomplished Malaysian writer, full stop.” —Promethean Fire Review

Mysterious, perturbing and strikingly beautiful, this collection of stories explores the lives of Malaysian women: immigrants, rebels, lost souls, pragmatists, dreamers

By an author described by critics as “the most accomplished Malaysian writer, full stop,” Lake Like a Mirror is a scintillating exploration of the lives of women buffeted by powers beyond their control. Squeezing themselves between the gaps of rabid urbanization, patriarchal structures and a theocratic government, these women find their lives twisted in disturbing ways.

In precise and disquieting prose, Ho Sok Fong draws her readers into a richly atmospheric world of naked sleepwalkers in a rehabilitation center for wayward Muslims, mysterious wooden boxes, gossip in unlicensed hairdressers, hotels with amnesiac guests, and poetry classes with accidentally charged politics—a world that is peopled with the ghosts of unsaid words, unmanaged desires and uncertain statuses, surreal and utterly true.

Praise

“The most accomplished Malaysian writer, full stop.” —Promethian Fire Review

Author
Ho Sok Fong is the author of the short story collections Lake Like a Mirror (Two Lines Press) and Maze Carpet. Her literary awards include the Chiu Ko Fiction Prize (2015), the 25th China Times Short Story Prize, and the 30th United Press Short Story Prize. She has a PhD in Chinese Language & Literature from NTU Singapore, and lives in Malaysia.
Translator
Natascha Bruce translates fiction from Chinese. Her work includes short stories by Hong Kong surrealist writer Dorothy Tse, Lonely Face by Singapore's Yeng Pway Ngon and, with Nicky Harman, A Classic Tragedy by Xu Xiaobin.
Excerpt from the book

The sheet of white over her eyes and nose gradually lightened, shrank, pulled away from her face. It became weightless, took on a kind of glossy curve. She could clearly see an enormous white O emerging from her open mouth. 

Two Os. Three. She lost count. They floated up one after the other into the boundless blue of the sky.

No one saw, she thought. She had vomited white balloons. The father was sitting in front of her, of course he hadn’t seen. The boy was sitting next to her, but she didn’t know if his eyes had been open. He hadn’t stopped screaming for the whole ride. Oh, he definitely hadn’t seen: afterwards he said to her, “You weren’t sick.”

He looked confused. She could read the sentence that was hiding inside his chest: You see, you’re not like us.

As soon as they were off the ride, the three of them opened paper bags and violently threw up. Su Qin thought back to that morning, when they’d ordered hamburgers, 80 Summer Tornado rice au gratin, ham and chicken cutlets, fries, icy cola. She hadn’t tried to stop them.

They kept their heads lowered, convulsing in the same way, at the same tempo. They were so alike, from how they kneaded their stomachs to their dazed expressions as they tried to calm their breathing. She handed out tissues. When she collected their bags of vomit, she felt a wave of nausea.

It wasn’t just because they were another woman’s children. Even if she had given birth to them herself, they could still have grown up to be more like their father. But if they could become his children, maybe they could become her children, if she fought for it. If, if. If she loved them until she died. Maybe then they would have to talk to her, despite her obvious accent, and slowly, eventually, bit by bit, maybe they would love her back.

But they would still leave her. When she died, she would be alone, she would die a lonely old woman.