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Wing's World Web

Good readers "should notice and fondle details" - Nabokov

Updated: 2018-03-08T07:07:35.536+08:00




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Nominated for Asia Writes' Best of the Net 2010 Nominations (Poetry)


This morning I got an email from Asia Writes that my poem was nominated for Asia Writes' Best of the Net 2010 Nominations (Poetry). Asia Writes asked Lee Upton,author of several books of poetry and literary criticism and currently the Writer-in-Residence at Lafayette College, to pick the best. Nicholas Wong is also in the list.

Little Hands Clapping


Little Hands Clapping by Dan Rhodes My rating: 5 of 5 stars I was waiting to get my hands on this novel for ages, ie, when I first read about it sometime last year. I had a very nice surprise when I collected my copy at Kino. It cost ten pounds but it was a hardback, and with 20% off, a great bargain, as well. I love reading ebooks, but if this book came out as an ebook and were selling at

Afterlife by Sean O'Brien


Afterlife by Sean O'Brien My rating: 4 of 5 stars A bit of a slow start at the beginning. But that's only because O'Brien is building the suspense to the climax. After that the story of a group of university and art students, particularly four, three of whom were aspiring poets, Martin Stone, his girfriend Susie, Alex and his girlfriend Jane. It is a story of when these four having a stoned

The Road by Cormac McCarthy


The Road by Cormac McCarthy My rating: 5 of 5 stars When this book first came out, four years back, there was quite a bit of hoo-ha over it, not in the US or even the UK, but here in Malaysia. This was after it won a few prestigious awards, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 2006, and then a year later the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Malaysians then started to take notice of

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín


Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín My rating: 4 of 5 stars After the very high-brow literary writing of The Master, the style here is very different, more prosaic. The style reflects the way Eilis feels about travelling from her little Irish town, where she practically knows every inhabitant, to Brooklyn, in New York, where she's inundated with humanity of every colour and creed. She's going to the

We Are All Made of Glue by Marina Lewycka


We Are All Made of Glue by Marina Lewycka My rating: 5 of 5 stars I think Marina Lewycka has surpassed herself this time with We Are All Made of Glue. I’ve never enjoyed myself so much reading any novel, until this one. What I really mean is I’ve never laughed so much and at the same time flipped pages at the same time. Georgie Sinclair has just broken up with her hunky husband Rip. He’s

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer


Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer My rating: 2 of 5 stars After all the hype about this book, what with its winning some awards in Britain, and being touted as a very funny novel, I must say it rather disappoints me – but just a little. If I compare this funny novel to, say, the one I’m reading right now, Marina Lewycka’s We Are All Made of Glue, I can’t say I was laughing as

The Hidden by Tobias Hill


The Hidden by Tobias Hill My rating: 3 of 5 stars At first I approached Tobias Hill’s The Hidden as a literary piece of fiction, as I was mindful of the fact that he is a poet. So, you can expect him to write like one, meaning some of his sentences are rich in images, just the right formula of ‘Don’t tell, show’. And show, he does, opening up a historical vista to ancient Sparta. Ben Mercer

Adrift on the Nile by Naguib Mahfouz


Adrift on the Nile by Naguib Mahfouz My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book is my first venture or introduction to writings from the middle east, specifically Egypt. So I approached it with some prejudice, inevitably because so far I’ve only read fiction from the West and a couple from the East, most from Japan. After successfully reading past the first chapter, I was surprised to actually begin

What Becomes by A L Kennedy


What Becomes by A.L. Kennedy My rating: 5 of 5 stars After Indelible Acts, Kennedy’s collection from 2002 and her first one, with that long title starting with Night Geometry, this new one, What Becomes, continues her inimical style of writing. She doesn’t subscribe to the type of writing which is taught in most writing schools or classes: simple, to the point, edited to the essentials only,

The Bradshaw Variations


The Bradshaw Variations by Rachel Cusk My rating: 5 of 5 stars Apparently some people deem Rachel Rusk too clever in her books. I get that, somewhat, in her past work, like In the Fold. In that one she brandishes here cleverness with long sentences and very, very long conversations. Here, in her new work, she has tempered such lengthiness, somewhat. Sentences are still long, but for the

Stone's Fall


Stone's Fall by Iain Pears My rating: 4 of 5 stars Stone’s Fall is a historical novel, no doubt. The atmosphere and scenes are steeped in the 19th century – even the language, if I may assert. In essence, though, this novel is a thriller; and one of the best I’ve ever read, even if I ever read one only occasionally. It has all the usual elements of that genre: intrigue, espionage, sex.

The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds


The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds My rating: 5 of 5 stars Adam Foulds’s first book of fiction The Truth About These Strange Times garnered very favorable reviews, and won the Betty Trask Award 2007. This second one, The Quickening Maze is just as successful, even more so when it got shortlisted for the Booker. It is a historical fiction, just like his other shortlisted Booker candidate

The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam


The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam I’ve been a fan of Jane Gardam’s writing ever since I came upon her early books in the British Council Library, like God on the Rocks. I found her stories very moving and her writing very accessible and well-wrought. I still do, especially now, with her latest novel, The Man in the Wooden Hat. She has reprised her most successful character since Faith

The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker


The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker My rating: 5 of 5 stars In The Anthologist American writer Nicholson Baker writes about my hobby horse, poetry. He waxes throughout his new novel about meter and beats. Not all the time, of course. There has to be a story in there somewhere, or it’ll be merely a teaching text for poetry. However, the main character, one Paul Chowder (like the milky

The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville


The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville Kate Grenville’s book The Secret River was shortlisted for the Booker in 2006, but I haven’t yet read it. The Lieutenant is my first encounter with Grenville’s work. That’s because I’m wary of historical fiction. However, after Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall I’ve become more accepting of this genre, especially when it sometimes meld over with literature, the hard

Memories about Bobby


I'm going to remember Bobby during the good times, when he was so alive. Bobby was (I nearly wrote is) really an accident. How so? In human terms, that would mean he was born out of wedlock, etc, love child.  He looked quite like his daddy, the same kind of marking.  His mother is feral. She is one of the daughters of Bobby's granny, Mimi. Bobby somehow managed to avoid being nearly drowned in

In Memory of Bobby 21-10-2009


My beautiful boy died in his sleep last night. He was not well for less than two days back.  At first I thought it was just a minor stomach ache.  Then the second day, he became lethargic.  I thought, like my other cats, he would rally and be back into form by a few days. Yesterday he lay the whole day next to his bowl of water, but he wasn't drinking from it any more. I still didn't think

Alfred & Emily by Doris Lessing


Alfred and Emily by Doris Lessing My rating: 4 of 5 stars Is it a novel, that is, fiction? Is it non-fiction, a twin biography of her parents? In fact Alfred & Emily is both. It is kept in the fiction shelves, among other true works of that genre, in the National Library (KL); the librarians presume it to be this. The first half of the book reads just like fiction. It tells the story of

My Driver by Maggie Gee


My Driver by Maggie Gee In this new novel of Maggie we meet Mary Tendo, of old, quite a character, from her last work, My Housekeeper. Mary was, then, the housekeeper of Vanessa, an English writer of middling success. Now, in this story she’s back in her own country, in Uganda. She’s still a housekeeper, but of a different kind, somewhat elevated, in fact. She works for an international

The Road Home by Rose Tremain


The Road Home by Rose Tremain I’m into the first three pages of the book, and I’ve begun to feel, very heavily, for Lev. An Eastern European, he is going to England, to do any kind of work. His wife has died, and his daughter needs essentials, like clothes and shoes; well, everything, as Lev says, “England is my hope”. He thinks “the English were lucky”, and that it is now his time to be

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel


Wolf Hall by Hilary MantelMy rating: 5 of 5 starsAt first I’m a little ambivalent about Wolf Hall, notwithstanding all the rave reviews Hilary Mantel is getting for her 600-odd-page historical novel about Thomas Cromwell. The thing is, the way she uses ‘he’ – just that alone – for Cromwell, even when there is another male character present. This can be a bit troublesome, when you take a break

The Deportees by Roddy Doyle


The Deportees and other stories by Roddy Doyle-How’s things?-GrandLike the immigrants and the sons and daughters of such people in Ireland in the book, they are apprised of this slang, now.Also, like the illegal immigrant in the story I Understand I might even say ‘fuck that’, as he does when his bus goes past without stopping. He gets the approval of the natives, who approve, telling him, ‘

The Clothes On Their Backs by Linda Grant


The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda GrantMy rating: 4 of 5 starsNear the ending of the book, Miranda tells us “The clothes you wear are a metamorphosis. They change you from the outside in.”All throughout the book The Clothes On Their Backs, clothes play a big part in the story of Miranda, daughter of Hungarian Jewish immigrants, and, specifically, niece of the notorious slum lord of 60s London