'For the first time in my life, I saw my mother in relation to her family, and I didn't recognise her any more.These Singaporean roots of hers, this side of her - and possibly of me too - were unacceptable. I was determined not to belong, not to fit in, because I was Australian, and Mum ought to be Australian too. The tug of her roots, the blurring of her role from wife and mother to sister and aunt, angered me.'
On the eve of her mother's wake, Grace Tay flies to Singapore to join her father and brother and her mother's family. Here she explores her family history, looking for the answers to her mother's death. This beautiful and moving novel steps between Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, evoking the life, the traditions and tastes of a forceful Chinese family as well as the hardship, the cruelty and pain. Written in a fresh, contemporary voice tinged with biting humour, this is a story about resilience, a story about migration, but in many ways it is a story about parents' expectations for their children.
Justin Cheong, Tien Ho and Nigel Gibbo' Gibson have been best friends since school in a world divided along ethnic lines into skips, wogs and slopes. Together they've survived a suburban tragedy, compulsory karaoke nights and Justin's mother's obsession with clean toilets. They thought they would always be there for each other but they hadn't counted on the effects of jealousy, betrayal, and their desire to escape themselves.
Ho Ly-Linh, Tien's mother, wasn't around for much of Tien's childhood. Left behind in a rapidly changing Vietnam, she risked everything to follow her family to Australia. Having spent so much of this dangerous journey alone, she is ready now to find love.
On Saturday, 6 September 1997 they all meet at the Cheongs' house for the first time in years because Princess Diana is dead and their mothers have decided to hold a Dead Diana Dinner to watch the funeral on television. Nobody realises just how explosive this dinner will be, or how complicated life is going to get.
This is a story of three families' discovery of the meaning of love and friendship.
Drawing on "high" literature, erotica, and popular romance fiction and films, Teo examines the changing meanings of Orientalist tropes such as crusades and conversion, abduction by Barbary pirates, sexual slavery, the fear of renegades, the Oriental despot and his harem, the figure of the powerful Western concubine, and fantasies of escape from the harem. She analyzes the impact of imperialism, decolonization, sexual liberation, feminism, and American involvement in the Middle East on women's Orientalist fiction. Teo suggests that the rise of female-authored romance novels dramatically transformed the nature of Orientalism because it feminized the discourse; made white women central as producers, consumers, and imagined actors; and revised, reversed, or collapsed the binaries inherent in traditional analyses of Orientalism.