Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Book event: The Sum of Our Follies

Yes, we are not calling it a book launch (it is such a cliche), but a book event. Shih-Li will talk about the process of writing her book, which she says took longer than she expected. We can imagine the process and thoroughly enjoyed editing her work (which turned out to be minimal). No sledgehammer work here, nor slash and burn.


Speaker: Shih-Li Kow (Author)
Venue: Silverfish Books, 28-1 Jalan Telawi, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-228 448 37
Date and time: Saturday, 12 April 2014, 5.30pm.
Admission is free.

About the author:

Shih-Li Kow is a home-grown Malaysian writing sensation who came to light with her first book of short stories, Ripples and other stories, in 2009, which was immediately shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award that year, beating Ali Smith and Kazuo Ishiguro to the list.

Shih-Li Kow's short stories have appeared in several anthologies since her first publication in 2007. She currently works in real estate management and lives in Kuala Lumpur with her extended family, cat and a beehive.

About the book:

Stylish, subtle and funny, Shih-Li is an amazing storyteller. The Sum of Our Follies is the story of characters living in a backwater town, Lubok Sayong, in Malaysia with no claim to fame apart from its annual floods, a dubious legend and entrenched mediocrity, struggling with modernity; one that could be compared to the little towns and characters of Amado and Narayan, with just a touch of Calvino. It is not surprising that it attracted much interest in Frankfurt in October last year, and Italian rights have been sold. (All this before the manuscript was finalised and published!)

An extract:

“Call us Tim and Peggy,” they said. Mami kept getting their names wrong and she called them Tom and Jerry. I thought that she did it on purpose. I wondered if Tim and Peggy shared my suspicion. They wanted to know about the house. Everyone who came wanted to know about the house.
“My father built this house. He was an unnatural man,” said Mami.
“An unnatural man?” Mr Miller raised his eyebrows at his wife. They didn’t know that Mami used the word ‘unnatural’ a lot. They must have thought she meant her father was a perv.
“Yes, unnatural. Funny funny, you know. Not normal, not your usual father. He built this house for the loves of his life,” explained Mami. “He had many loves in his life, but the greatest were these four. The rest, he did not marry. More interestingly … eh … Jerry, was that these four agreed to marry him, considering he was not half as good-looking as your Mr Tom here. My father was as ugly as a monkey crossed with goat, but he was very charming. He could talk birds down from trees.”