Corridor: 12 Short Stories

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Alfian Sa’at

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Synopsis

Corridor is a collection of short stories all set in present-day Singapore. With unsentimental clarity and heartbreaking honesty, Alfian Sa’at writes about HDB dwellers – students, housewives and factory workers, whose lives begin to unravel once they discover that happiness is a fragile thing in a country obsessed with progress and success.

The characters in each story find themselves in situations that offer them a ticket to hope and change: A video camera transforms the way a resentful daughter sees her widowed mother. A married couple receives free holiday tickets just when their luck seems to have run out. A girl encounters a transvestite on an MRT train ride who tells her that she looks like a famous singer. And a man enters a discotheque after a bitter divorce and re-learns the terror of falling in love all over again.

Rich in authentic detail, with a sensitive ear for the vernacular, Corridor paints an elegiac, revealing portrait of contemporary Singaporeans who exist along the city’s corridors – haunted by lost loves, irrevocable childhoods and a deep longing to be free.

Corridor won the Singapore Literature Prize Commendation Award in 1998.

About the Author

Alfian Sa’at is a Resident Playwright with W!LD RICE. His published works include three collections of poetry, One Fierce Hour, A History of Amnesia and The Invisible Manuscript, a collection of short stories, Corridor, a collection of flash fiction, Malay Sketches, and two collections of plays – Collected Plays One and Collected Plays Two, and the published play Cooling-Off Day.

Alfian has been nominated eight times for Best Script at the Life! Theatre Awards, eventually  winning in 2005 for ‘Landmarks’, in 2010 for ‘Nadirah’, and in 2013 for ‘Kakak Kau Punya Laki’ (‘Your Sister’s Husband’). In 2011, Alfian was awarded the Boh-Cameronian Award in Malaysia for Best Book and Lyrics for the musical ‘The Secret Life of Nora’. In 2013, he won the Boh-Cameronian Award for Best Original Script for the play ‘Parah’.  In 2001, Alfian won the Golden Point Award for Poetry as well as the National Arts Council Young Artist Award for Literature. He has also been nominated for the Kirayama Asia-Pacific Book Prize and the Singapore Literature Prize for A History of Amnesia. His short fiction collection Malay Sketches was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize in 2013. His plays and short stories have been translated into German, Swedish, Danish and Japanese and have been read and performed in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Brisbane, Melbourne, London, Zurich, Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Review

"The magic of Alfian’s writing is no sleight of hand. It’s no illusion. It’s real.”
– Haresh Sharma, playwright of Off Centre
 
“His poet’s eye for freeze framing moments and his command of the language are still very much in evidence in the elegant turns of phrase and the flashes of poetic insight.”
– Ong Sor Fern, The Straits Times
 
“Alfian’s stories are significant as they articulate with a critical eye the concerns of minorities, groups that do not or cannot fit the societal norms.”
– Paul Tan, The Straits Times  

“The clarity with which Alfian Sa’at conveys his views about contemporary Singapore makes it all the more absorbing. “Corridor” allows the exploration and questioning of the presence of urban alienation that continues to persist in our fast-paced society.”
– Zarifah Yusop & Alfieana AlphonsoEnlight Vol 2 Issue 2

“What makes Corridor intriguing and yet disconcerting especially to Singaporean readers is its raw honesty in its story-telling that bare the inner struggles of these characters in this increasingly cosmopolitan city-state.
– 
Yurni Said-Sirhan, Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia 

Who knew that a short story collection full of mundane tales would be this heartbreaking? ... Author Alfian Sa’at captures the essence of our country effortlessly. The man is a poet.
– Priscilla, Priscilla and her Books  

• • •

ISBN: 978-981-07-7993-1
First published: 1999 (by SNP Editions Pte Ltd)
Second edition: 2015 (by Ethos Books)
Dimension: 130mm x 200mm
Extent: 172
Finish: Paperback

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