Thursday, April 29, 2010
Review Thursday: Body 2 Body: A Malaysian Queer Anthology
Jerome Kugan (Author, Editor), Pang Khee Teik (Author, Editor)
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Matahari Books 2009
Price: RM34 (Malaysia)/ S$22 (Singapore)/ $20 (Amazon)
Usually I avoid story collections that promote a particular cause. Generally speaking, I find activist writing dull, dreary and dogmatic. I bought this book solely because I am appalled at the demonisation of gay people in Malaysia.
Having made my protest buy, I chucked it in the back of the car, and tried to think of a friend who might enjoy reading it.
Fate intervened (in rather a nasty way!) when Target, my little cat, dislocated his paw. We rushed across to the other side of Peninsular Malaysia to see a specialist, and while Target was being treated, I sat and chewed my nails in a nearby coffee shop - and found that Body 2 Body was the only book in the car.
Let me say this: if you want to buy someone a present, this is a really good choice. The writing is excellent. There isn't a whiny, officious, or instructive story in it. Body 2 Body is unusual in that all the stories are first class. Having read it 5 months ago, I still remember each one in detail - and that's good writing.
My favourites are The Wives Story by Tan May Lee that peeks inside a polygamous Muslim marriage (not, it's NOT about abuse and male domination!) and Monsoon Massage by Paul GnanaSelvam (a story about absolutely nothing in the style of Somerset Maugham; in other words superb, classic, insightful) and What Do Gay People Eat? by Brian Gomez (because it made me laugh but it is also oh-so-true!).
Really, buy this book. You're going to love it. It's available in various Malaysian bookshops like Kinokunya, Times and Silverfish and is also on Amazon.com. To read the first chapter free, visit What Do Gay People Eat? by Brian Gomez
I've been reading so many great books recently, that I've decided to start reviewing them on Thursdays. Reviews are personal; fell free to jump in with comments that disagree. If you want your book reviewed, email me at katztales AT lepak.com, OK?