Sunday, November 30, 2008

Book Review Contest: The Wedgwood Ladies Football Club (reviewed by Alan le Bras)

I came across this book a few years ago and immediately liked the author’s tone. The author,TRR Raman, is a famous independent bookstore keeper cum publisher in Kuala Lumpur. This collection of short stories is his first ever being published.

Among the eight stories collected here, a few really stand out and even convinced me to take up the task of translating them all into French. And this will not be an easy task as the author’s use of the English language is informed by the local Malaysian English, much to the reader’s delight, and a lot more to the translator’s plight.

TRR Raman deals very maturely yet at times quite humorously with touchy topics such as religion (Book of Records), politics, communalism (The Wedgwood Ladies, Snatch), but also with the difficulties a publisher may be faced with when dealing with a charismatic author such as Bernie (Bernie).

Drawing on the image of the Wedgwood well crafted porcelains; the author depicts his characters and settings with well‐chosen details, having the readers immersed in lively crunchy dialogues.

For the Western readership I may hereby stand for, the collection is never an object of exoticism but a foray into contemporary Malaysian urban life, with all the modern issues a foreign reader may not be aware of. Last but not least, this collection of short stories is an excellent opportunity to dig into Malaysian English literature starting with an emerging contemporary author from whom we’d like to read more in the years to come.

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