Readings from Readings 2: New Writing from Malaysia, Singapore and Beyond is a new collection of short stories from Asia, mostly Malaysia. Born from a live reading series in Malaysia, these stories and poems ring with life and wisdom. Every story was compelling. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next, and for some of them, I am still wishing I knew what happened after the story was over.
Will Thangamma and Cik Rohayu prevail over the uncaring teachers in Lighting the Darkness? Will Rani succeed in carving a new life for herself, or will she be pushed down by Mrs. Kandiah in Rani Taxis Away? I will never know how they fare, nor will I know what happens next to Ah Chui or the old fishermen. A fate many readers can sympathize, but the characters in this book were especially compelling, unusually so for short story characters, which are often quickly and hastily drawn.
As someone who does not speak Malay, there were a few parts of the book I missed out on. I am sorry for it and wish there was a translation. But that is a small quibble, especially since this book was written for people in Malaysia.
Four out of five stars.
Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to review.