Testimonial: Aaron Lee

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

Raised in Singapore by middle-class Malay-Muslim parents, Nanny Eliana started composing short stories and poetry on her father’s typewriter at age six. As a student of the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ), she published her first Malay short story in the local Malay daily at 14, followed by two poems. In the same year, she was selected by an English student’s magazine and under the tutelage of a professional editor, she wrote its entertainment column for two years; this was the same year that she attended her first music press conference, for the famous rock band Jon Bon Jovi. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with a double major in Theatre Studies and Sociology, then, upon graduation, plunged into freelance events management and writing for public relations and advertising agencies and women’s magazines. At 23, she became the founder and principal consultant of Bridges M&C Pte Ltd, a public relations agency. In 2010, she co-founded contract publishing firm Bridges Publishing Pte Ltd with her fiancé, a retired Major from the British Parachute Regiment. In the same year, she received an Arts Creation Fund grant from the National Arts Council to complete her first novel. The fruit of that grant is this, her first novel.