I was supposed to write a review of Josephine Chia’s novel, My Mother-in-Law’s Son, but about three-quarters of the way in I’ve finally accepted defeat: I have nothing positive to say about this book. The writing is E.L. James meets racist Victorian ethnograph, the plot is full of sub-soap operatic machinations, and we know the eponymous character is pathetic because the narrators tell us – repeatedly – that he squeezes his zits.
I’d been plodding on for some time out of a sense of obligation (free review copy and all that). But last night I got to the chapter in which protagonist Swee Gek meets an “ang moh” (her term) who appears to have been modelled on Pepé Le Pew; and she experiences, three separate times in the space of a few pages, “a diaphanous memory” which turns out to be the sensation of falling in ^*~love~*^ with him. I just couldn’t cope after that.
Stornoway has cheered me up though.