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Elaine Chiew

The Heartsick Diaspora

Set in different cities around the world, Elaine Chiew’s award-winning stories travel into the heart of the Singaporean and Malaysian Chinese diasporas to explore the lives of those torn between cultures and juggling divided selves.
In the title story, four writers find their cultural bonds of friendship tested when a handsome young Asian writer joins their group. In other stories, a brother searches for his sister forced to serve as a comfort woman during World War Two; three Singaporean sisters run a French gourmet restaurant in New York; a woman raps about being a Tiger Mother in Belgravia; and a filmmaker struggles to document the lives of samsui women—Singapore’s thrifty, hardworking construction workers. >
Acutely observed, wry and playful, her stories are as worldly and emotionally resonant as the characters themselves. This fabulous debut collection heralds an exciting new literary voice.
269 printed pages
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Have you already read it? How did you like it?


  • Tim Brennanshared an impression2 months ago
    👍Worth reading


  • testcoolhas quoted2 months ago
    He couldn’t sleep. He lay tossing and turning on his thin pallet inside the mosquito netting. Finally, rising from bed, he picked up a sliver of wood and began whittling. In the past, he used to make miniature animal carvings out of these discarded pieces of wood for fun. To give to Mei. She kept a collection of his miniature carvings on the sill next to her bed; she’d stroke them with her pinky and say that when she had children, she’d give each of them one. ‘You plan to have lots of kids then, huh, since there are at least twenty up there?’ How Mei had blushed and laughed. ‘Ge, don’t tease me. I will give half to my future sister-in-law, for her children.’ Then it was his turn to blush and laugh.
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