Saturday, September 15, 2007

Noel BARBER ... Tanamera (1981)

I REMEMBER reading the novels of British novelist and journalist Noel Barber (1909-1988) back in the early 1980s. Tanamera (1981) was especially memorable. Barber made Malayan history exciting with well-drawn characters that leapt from the pages and engaged the reader instantly. I believe it’s time bookshops brought back these timeless classics for a new generation of readers. Yes, his stories were about forbidden passions in exotic climes, but those were the days when exotic was not frowned upon.

“They were golden days, when Singapore was as rich as its climate was steamy, its future as assured as it was busy. And those days were made even better when, as was inevitable, I fell in love with the Chinese beauty of Julie Soong and, against all unwritten canons of Singapore life, we became secret lovers.” TANAMERA

1. Tanamera: A Novel of Singapore (1981) / Noel Barber
2. A Farewell to France (1983) / Noel Barber
3. A Woman of Cairo (1984) / Noel Barber
4. The Other Side of Paradise (1986) / Noel Barber
5. The Weeping and the Laughter (1988) / Noel Barber
6. The Daughters of the Prince (1989) / Noel Barber

Noel Barber is the author of two famous nonfiction classics: The War of the Running Dogs: How Malaya Defeated the Communist Guerrillas 1948-1960 (1971) and Sinister Twilight: The Fall and Rise Again of Singapore (1968)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another greatly underrrated writer. Love the new cover for Tanamera. Nothing wrong about having 'exotic' elements in a book!

Sunday, September 16, 2007 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

I agree!

Sunday, September 16, 2007 4:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read Tanamera and Farewell To France when I was 16(almost 20 years ago). They belonged to my aunt who lived with us in my teenage years and I had to sneakily read them in the afternoons while she was at work. She deemed these books too adult for me then, but Noel Barber made history romantic. History classes in school somehow got a little more exciting with the images he created. I'm going to buy the books and read them again. I'm sure I'll enjoy them even more now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 8:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just started reading "A Woman of Cairo" -- picked up at a English-language used book sale here in Brussels, Belgium -- and I'm already intrigued by Noel Barber, an author unknown to me before this novel. He creates a palpable mood and setting in the first few pages of the book, and already has me wondering what will happen, next and eventually, to the characters he's introduced. I also find it interesting that, though the book (at least the beginning) is narrated by a male character, the title implies that the main character is female. I'm looking forward to discovering what that's all about!

I truly appreciate both your entry on this author and your thoughts on reading and literature in general, as expressed in the description of your online journal. Thank you!

Friday, October 16, 2009 5:57:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Thank you for your kind words and I am glad that you are enjoying Noel Barber's A Woman of Cairo. I have enjoyed all his books and am sad that the late Noel Barber will not be writing anymore.

Saturday, October 17, 2009 2:21:00 AM  
Anonymous illinilass said...

I just finished my first Noel Barber book, "A Farewell To France" Definietly will not be my last. I've already checked online to see if my local library has some of his books and it does! I had picked up this paperback on a cruise in March to Southeast Asia and China, from the free lending library. So glad I did! Now I'm anxious to read Tanamera and his other books.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 6:08:00 AM  

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