THE HARMONY SILK FACTORY
Fourth Estate (2005)
The Matriarch of Malaysia is back!
YES, the Matriarch of Malaysia is back. Rani Manicka is back with her sophomore effort, Touching Earth (2004), which is quite a departure from her début novel, The Rice Mother (2002), a sprawling, fragrantly exotic multigenerational Malayan family saga. If you are looking for something different, this may be just the book for you.
With The Rice Mother, Rani Manicka has finally made the international breakthrough for a Malaysian novel that we have been talking about for years. For too long a time have we been grappling with the definition of a Malaysian novel and The Rice Mother has shown us what that is: a Malaysian novel is one that appeals to both Malaysians and foreigners alike. Yes, it is as simple as that.
Another novel by a Malaysian will be making its début in March 2005: Tash Aw's The Harmony Silk Factory (Fourth Estate), a sprawling World War II saga set in Japanese-occupied Malaya. A colourful, gripping story told in lucid, uncluttered prose.