Bookends

British writer Rosie Milne.
British writer Rosie Milne.PHOTO: COURTESY OF ROSIE MILNE

Who: British writer Rosie Milne

Milne, who is from London and has lived in Singapore for a decade, runs the Asian Books Blog and writes for The UK Telegraph. She has also written three novels.

Her latest book, Olivia & Sophia, published last November by Monsoon Books, looks at Sir Stamford Raffles' life through his two wives. His first wife Olivia travelled with him from London to Penang, and then on to Java, where she died.

His second wife, Sophia, too, accompanied him on his travels and was his companion in a life marred by personal tragedy and loss: Four of their five children died in Asia and the family lost nearly all their possessions in a shipwreck while heading back to London.

The book retails at $18.60 at major bookstores.

What are you reading now?

I'm reading The Story Of The Lost Child, the final instalment of Elena Ferrante's much-praised Neapolitan Quartet.

I agree with the general opinion that the books are wonderful - all four of them are absorbing accounts of selves and shadow selves.

The Neapolitan Quartet is about a woman looking back when another woman she has been friends with since childhood, aged 66, disappears.

I love the intricacy of the novels and that you can read them at many levels.

For instance, "What happens next?" and "What does this say about the nature of the self and the alternative selves we have bubbling within us?"

I also love that Ferrante allows her characters to be nasty. I get fed up reading books by women authors in which the heroine is bound in chains of niceness.

What books would you save from a burning house?

None. My books are mostly paperback and I'm sure they're replaceable.


• The Story Of The Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (2015, Europa Editions, $26) is available at Books Kinokuniya.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 10, 2016, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe