Little Basket 2016: New Malaysian Writing edited by Catalina Rembuyan et. al.

I always feel I’m a little hard on local writers. I want to like them, but. So far I haven’t really found anyone who writes the way I want to read. Maybe my standards are too high or too particular, or maybe I just expect more from them, being a fellow Malaysian and all. So I was happy to come across Little Basket 2016: New Malaysian Writing, as it’s been awhile since I’ve read a compilation by local authors written in English. Silverfish Books use to do them, and I don’t even know if they still exist.

I have to admit that if I based the decision of purchasing this book solely on the first few stories I probably would not have not taken it home with me. So I’m pretty glad I stuck with and those first few were not an indication of the rest of the stories to come. There were a few decent ones that I really enjoyed, so instead of picking on the ones I didn’t, here are the ones I did:

Diaspora by William Tham Wai Liang. Less story, more essay, but a really well-written one.

Man on the 22nd Floor by Tunku Halim. A ghost story, but not the kind you think.

Family Business by Kris Williamson. An interesting perspective on ’tissue-seller’ beggars that make their rounds during mealtimes, but one that has probably crossed all of our minds before. He just wrote it in print.

Love Potion No. 5 by Chua Kok Yee. A great cautionary take on using a bomoh to get the one you love!

21 Across by Lean Ka-Min. A cute, short, unrequited love story.

Full Circle by Terence Toh. Takes love sci-fi.

Monsters by Cassandra Khaw. Poetically written.

Abracadabra by Timothy Nakayama. Another story that comes full circle.

There were some stories I felt had potential but fell a bit short of the mark, as well as those I thought were just ho-hum. And still others I thought would have benefited by a proper editorial team who did more than correct spelling and grammatical errors but actually guided their writers to do better. That said, I did come across some spelling and grammatical errors, and one fairly big error in the FIXI NOVO manifesto pt 6 which states that they DON’T publish poetry. Except that they DID and even called for poetry entries for the next collection. Doh.

Overall, I am, however, looking forward to 2017 and 2018’s Little Basket, and I certainly hope it exists!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.