Christmas Staff Picks: The Inlet by Claire Tham
recommended by Benedicta
Claire Tham’s voice juggles multiple perspectives in this Singapore Literature Prize nominated piece of fiction. The Inlet is home to a plethora of characters, including Ling, a Chinese national. Having given up her life as a lab technician, she moves to Singapore and makes a living as a hostess, and settles in her new identity with all its glitz and glamour (or lack thereof).
Perhaps what will draw audiences the most are the scenes that accompany the strong characters; gaudy offices of stereotypically flashy Chinese businessmen to whitewashed houses with their own marinas are beautifully described. And despite its diversity, one thing remains constant: the gritty, Wong Kar Wai-esque quality of Claire’s settings. Who knew Singapore could look so full of character?
Benedicta Foo is an intern at Ethos Books. When she’s not buried in the pages of a book, she obsesses over finding the perfect bowl of ramen, doubts its existence, sings in the shower, works towards becoming the female Ron Swanson, and tries not to rhyme. She writes to keep herself (in)sane.