More books by Malaysian authors you should read at least once

More books by Malaysian authors you should read at least once

Oct 11, 2023Alan Wong

Continuing on a previous theme, here are several more Malaysian authors that we think you need to read at least once. Some of these may not be available at MPHOnline, but don't let that stop you from looking elsewhere.

Cover of Fuel by Jeremy ChinFuel by Jeremy Chin

Timothy Malcolm Smith, a young creative director at a London ad agency, has wowed an entire nation with his creativity and charisma. But Timmy has a bigger goal: to debut in and win the New York Marathon. Training in secret since young, he improved his running time to rival those of some of the world’s best, in preparation for the big day. Perhaps what he didn't expect to encounter along the way is the prospect of a romance with his colleague, and for the first time he has his sights on another goal. A book about running that's more about running, Fuel is also a tender tale with surprises in store.

Cover of "Peeing in the Bush" by Adeline Loh Peeing in the Bush by Adeline Loh
MPH Group Publishing

Adeline Loh fled the boring routine of work in Malaysia for the chaotic idyll of the southern African wilds of Zambia, with a paranoid vegetarian named Chan in tow. Highlights include flying over Victoria Falls in a microlight, a five-day safari in a rickety van, and dealing with an unwanted creepy-crawly guest in a hotel bathroom. And of course, learning how to answer the call of nature out in the bush. Loh's inimitable storytelling permeates this Zambian tarvelogue, at a time when Malaysians might have found the idea of an African sojourn in response to impending burnout a bit, well, novel.

Cover of "The Weight of Our Sky" by Hanna Alkaf The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
Simon & Schuster

After a day of school, Melati Ahmad has no idea that her movie evening – and her life – will be upturned by the 13 May race riots. Melati seeks shelter with a Chinese woman who saves her life and witnesses first-hand the devastation left behind by the riots. She has to find her mother, but apart from the threat of more violence, a terrible presence in her mind threatens to drive her mad unless she pacifies it with a counting and tapping ritual. Hanna Alkaf's stirring fictional account of a young protagonist's experience of the riots is a reminder to cherish our peace and harmony and that we all, despite our differences, live under the same sky.

Cover of "The Last Days" by William Tham The Last Days by William Tham
Clarity Publishing

Lin Wei, an old Communist revolutionary, arrives in Kuala Lumpur in 1981, pursued by an unknown assassin. A female journalist known only as "H" agrees to chronicle his story before his time runs out. But Lin Wei isn't the only one with a tale to tell; as he recalls his days as a revolutionary, the story of H's family and how it's entangled in the Malayan Emergency begins to surface. Around them, the tension is palpable as a new chapter in Malaysian history is marked by protests, arrests, and the suppression of media. A novel of not just two lives but also how certain narratives are silenced in favour of what is more palatable to the powers that be.

Cover of "Not a Monster" by Chua Kok Yee Not a Monster by Chua Kok Yee
Fixi Novo

A decade ago, Inspector Dominic Wong was part of a task force put together to apprehend a kidnapper and murderer of children. Years later, Inspector Nadra Sunai witnesses a child being abducted, but who is the mysterious white-haired figure that only she could see? What awaits the two police officers when the search concludes? Are they hunting a human ... or a supernatural perpetrator?

Cover of Peninsula by Rehman RashidPeninsula: A Story of Malaysia by Rehman Rashid
Fergana Art Sdn Bhd, Rehman Rashid

It might be cheating to include another Rehman Rashid book in this list, but we consider it the spiritual sequel to A Malaysian Journey that's worth a look. Peninsula comprises more reflections of the past and the stories of people the author met in the country and is thus another series of glimpses of a nation's unfolding history as it moves into the 21st century and beyond. Rehman introduces us to more of the Malaysian social fabric and speaks of his love for Kuala Kubu Baru, where he had "retired". Though he's a little older and sadder by the time of writing, his words harbour some hope for the future. Sadly this was one of the last books he wrote before his passing in 2017.

Any of these look interesting? Read any of these? Let us know what you think of these selections so far! We have a bit more on our list, but let's save those for another day. Until then, happy reading!

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