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Thursday, 14 March 2013

evening is the whole day

the sun goes down and the sky reddens, pain grows sharp, 
light dwindles. then is evening
when jasmine flowers open, the deluded say. 
but evening is the great brightening dawn
when crested cocks crow all through the tall city
and evening is the whole day
for those without lovers.
(kuruntokai 234, translated by george l.hart)

my baby sister only started reading novels later on in life, which is just dandy as her glasses are not as thick as mine. this book was a gift from her and it is set in the outskirts of Ipoh and chronicles a bad time in one wealthy and privileged family. set in the early merdeka days - the story talks of secrets and manipulations, caste and racial prejudices that is a mirror of malaysian society then. 

what i loved best about the book is preeta's prose and her rich imagery of the language. also the familiarity of it, i think. experiences like: eating sunshine bread, marie biscuits and milo straight from the tin...

the description of may 13 is particularly memorable as language and image dance, laugh and cry without false sentiment: “rumor and fact burst forth into the noon-day kuala lumpur heat, rumor in a red dress, fact in coat and tails, and together, they began a salacious tango in the streets. their hair was suspiciously rumpled, their eyelids heavy, their skins slick with sweet afternoon bed-sweat’’.

i go through phases where i enjoy reading about other families and races and classes and secrets and heat.

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