Singapore Shelf

RIGHT OF THE SOIL
RIGHT OF THE SOIL
GAZE BACK
GAZE BACK
THE WOMAN WHO TURNED INTO A VENDING MACHINE
THE WOMAN WHO TURNED INTO A VENDING MACHINE
BAND EIGHT
BAND EIGHT
WHEN LOVE HURTS
WHEN LOVE HURTS
THE PRODIGY:BLADE OF THE CHRYSALIS
THE PRODIGY:BLADE OF THE CHRYSALIS

POETRY

RIGHT OF THE SOIL By Yong Shu Hoong

Ethos Books/ Paperback/96 pages/$17 before GST/Books Kinokuniya, MPH, City Book Room, Grassroots Book Room, selected Times bookstores and ethosbooks.com.sg

The Singapore Literature Prize-winning poet returns with a volume that digs deep into what is buried and forgotten, from the body of a hawker entombed beneath a road in Penang, to a hotel built over a killing field.

In a closing section titled The Subterranean Courts, he pulls together a tongue-in-cheek assortment of poems with themes based on the Chinese courts of hell and the reincarnation cycle.


GAZE BACK By Marylyn Tan

Ethos Books/Paperback/88 pages/$16.82 before GST/Books Kinokuniya, MPH, selected Times bookstores and ethosbooks.com.sg

This debut is a sizzling look at taboo femininity - at menstruation, sexuality, witchcraft and wondering how it might have gone if Jesus had been a teenage girl. There are even poems written in computer code.

Tan gathers what the polite poet would flinch from, grabs readers by the hair and holds their faces in it. She quotes a misspelled boutique display in an Orchard mall: "You will be surprized at dirts!" Prepare to be very surprised.


THE WOMAN WHO TURNED INTO A VENDING MACHINE By Natalie Wang

Math Paper Press/ Paperback/60 pages/ $17.22/ Books Kinokuniya, BooksActually

Wang's debut collection wanders through surreal visions of failed relationships and modern womanhood, from the titular prose piece in which a woman turns into a vending machine to a pontianak who retires from the banana tree and takes up yoga and a demon who responds to catcallers by removing her skin.


FICTION

BAND EIGHT By Tham Cheng-E

Epigram Books/ Paperback/336 pages/$24.90 before GST/Major bookstores and shop.epigrambooks.sg

In the dystopian Nation, Citizenship must be bought. Residents pay exorbitant taxes to keep their privileges; if they fall behind, they are downgraded to Transients and risk being deported.

Santhosh, a Transient student, is trying to gain Citizenship through the national examinations, when his father is suddenly deported and his guardian's family murdered by the state. In desperation, he joins a band of fugitives who hold wealthy Citizens for ransom.


NON-FICTION

WHEN LOVE HURTS By Sudha Nair

Straits Times Press/Paperback/296 pages/$30/ Major bookstores

Dr Nair, executive director of family violence specialist centre Pave, tells the shocking stories of true-life cases, from women who choose to stay with violent husbands to children and the elderly who are abused by their own families. But the stories also show how they break free from abuse and try to repair their relationships.


COMICS

THE PRODIGY: BLADE OF THE CHRYSALIS By Dave Chua and Koh Hong Teng

Pause Narratives/Paperback/128 pages/$19.90 before GST/Major bookstores

Writer Chua and illustrator Koh reunite for this densely-drawn fantasy graphic novel, the first in a projected six-volume series.

Set in a world inspired by Asian mythology, the tale follows a former soldier, haunted by the loss of his family, who is on a quest to end the rule of a tyrant. Bystanders such as a pair of motherless fisher children and a street urchin are caught up in the fray.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2018, with the headline 'Singapore Shelf'. Print Edition | Subscribe