Corridor: 12 Short Stories

 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.

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Corridor: 12 Short Stories

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"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

“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


Alfian Sa’at