Testimonial: Aaron Lee

The work is of a high literary quality. The novel is coherent, and with an engaging plot. It is peopled with authentically-drawn (sometimes in a few lines), yet unconventional characters. The inner life of each of the main characters is convincingly portrayed. The setting and the subject matter, portraying the modern way of life in multi-cultural South East Asia, is explored unflinchingly. The narration is not merely descriptive, but the writer uses metaphor and other techniques to get into the true relevance of what is seen or encountered. There are some “dream sequences” in the story that allow the author to display inventiveness of approach.

The story is thought-provoking because the author is not content to merely describe the surface of people and events. The (few) scenes of sexual intimacy in the novel are written very well, without salaciousness and without exploitation. The key characters are not mere foils to one another; rather, they all have interesting and deftly drawn personal histories. The narrator figure is complex, real, and on a journey of self-discovery.

The originality of this work is in its portrayal of how post-modernity has not left the 21st century Malay community untouched. The complex dynamics of personal faith, capitalism, travel and restlessness, morality, pleasure and pain, art and spirituality, the use and abuse of power and money, are all deftly explored in the richly-woven tapestry of this epic novel. aaron-may2012small

– Aaron Lee, editor and practising lawyer