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Singapore Noir

Edited by:

Singapore is exposed in all of its noir glory with scintillating stories from the very best of the city’s authors.

Forthcoming: 6/3/14

$15.95 $11.96

What people are saying…

“Singapore, with its great wealth and great poverty existing amid ethnic, linguistic, and cultural tensions, offers fertile ground for bleak fiction, as shown by the 14 tales in this solid Akashic noir anthology . . . Tan has assembled a strong lineup of Singapore natives and knowledgeable visitors for this volume exploring the dark side of a fascinating country.”
Publishers Weekly

“Murder and mayhem cross borders as well. This June four indie publishers—Akashic Books, Europa Editions, Melville House, and Grove Atlantic/Mysterious Press—are teaming up for a second time to celebrate International Crime Month, an initiative that celebrates the rich diversity of literary crime fiction in translation, with a series of readings, panels, and discussions. Among the titles that will be highlighted are Singapore Noir, edited by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan.”
Library Journal, editorial mention about International Crime Month


Launched with the summer ’04 award-winning best seller Brooklyn Noir, Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies. Each book is comprised of all-new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.

Brand-new stories by: Colin Goh, Simon Tay/Donald Tee Quee Ho, Philip Jeyaretnam, Colin Cheong, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, Monica Bhide, S.J. Rozan, Lawrence Osborne, Suchen Christine Lim, Ovidia Yu, Damon Chua, Johann S. Lee, Dave Chua, and Nury Vittachi.

From the introduction by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan:

“Say Singapore to anyone and you’ll likely hear one of a few words: Caning. Fines. Chewing gum.

For much of the West, the narrative of Singapore—a modern Southeast Asian city-state perched on an island on the tip of the Malay Peninsula—has been marked largely by its government’s strict laws and unwavering enforcement of them . . . As much as I understand these outside viewpoints, I have always lamented that the quirky and dark complexities of my native country’s culture rarely seem to make it past its borders . . .

Beneath its sparkling veneer is a country teeming with shadows . . . And its stories remain. The rich stories that attracted literary lions W. Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling to hold court at the Raffles Hotel (where the Singapore Sling was created) are still sprinkled throughout its neighborhoods. And in the following pages, you’ll get the chance to discover some of them . . .

You’ll find stories from some of the best contemporary writers in Singapore—three of them winners of the Singapore Literature Prize, essentially the country’s Pulitzer: Simon Tay, writing as Donald Tee Quee Ho, tells the story of a hard-boiled detective who inadvertently wends his way into the underbelly of organized crime, Colin Cheong shows us a surprising side to the country’s ubiquitous cheerful ‘taxi uncle,’ while Suchen Christine Lim spins a wistful tale of a Chinese temple medium whose past resurges to haunt her . . .

As for mine, I chose a setting close to my heart—the kelongs, or old fisheries on stilts, that once dotted the waters of Singapore but are gradually disappearing. I have a deep sense of romance about these kelongs, along with the many other settings, characters, nuances, and quirks that you’ll see in these stories. They’re intense, inky, nebulous. There is evil, sadness, a foreboding. And liars, cheaters, the valiant abound.

This is a Singapore rarely explored in Western literature—until now. No Disneyland here; but there is a death penalty.”

Table of Contents

Introduction by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Part I: Sirens

Colin Goh, “Last Time,” Raffles Place 
Simon Tay writing as Donald Tee Quee Ho, “Detective in a City with No Crime,” Tanglin
Philip Jeyaretnam, “Strangler Fig,” Bukit Panjang 
Colin Cheong, “Smile, Singapore,”  Ang Mo Kio

Part II: Love (or something like it)

Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, “Reel,” Changi
Monica Bhide, “Mother,” Kallang
S.J. Rozan, “Kena Sai,” Bukit Timah
Lawrence Osborne, “Tattoo,” Geylang

Part III: Gods & Demons

Suchen Christine Lim, “Mei Kwei, I Love You,” Potong Pasir
Ovidia Yu, “Spells,” Tiong Bahru
Damon Chua, “Saiful and the Pink Edward VII,” Woodlands

Part IV: The Haves & The Have-Nots

Johann S. Lee, “Current Escape,” Sentosa Cove
Dave Chua, “Bedok Reservoir,” Bedok
Nury Vittachi, “Murder on Orchard Road,” Orchard Road

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