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Sunday, 11 July 2010

Evening Is The Whole Day - Preeta Samarasan

About a year and a half ago, this article caught my attention.

It was of interest because there aren't all that many Malaysian novelists around, much less those who attract foreign attention.

A feeling of belonging in Malaysia

First novelists often get missed in the cacophony of new books from established or popular writers. And so it was with Preeta Samarasan, a Malaysian native and a recent graduate of the University of Michigan whose sweeping novel about a Tamil family in a changing Malaysia moved quietly along book circles this year, overshadowed by new works from such brilliantly popular names as Jhumpa Lahiri, Salman Rushdie, Manil Suri and Amitav Ghosh.

It is getting increasingly awkward and rare for Malaysians to express themselves and explore their niche in this nation. Somehow, this writer manages.

In Evening Is The Whole Day, she describes the relationship to the 'motherland' many Malaysians still hold on to:

"Somewhere in all that hoping and studying and preparing, something else changed: India ceased to be home," Samarasan writes while describing how the Rajasekharans became Malaysians. " . . .  This, this flourishing, mixed-up, polyglot place to which they had found their way almost by accident, this was his country now. Malays Chinese Indians, motley countrymen they might be, but countrymen they were, for better or for worse. What was coming to them all. It would be theirs to share."

It is just heart-breaking that race relations in Malaysia, which once flourished, are now steadily deteriorating.

Read what Preeta Samarasan had to say about May 13 last year.


1 comment:

masterwordsmith said...

I have the book but have yet to read it. Your write up has given me the boost to read it :-). Thanks!