by Clara Chow
What if you could dream up any building you like? What would it be? How would constructing it change our lives?
A shopping mall self-destructs, and a single mother vanishes. A tree house for orphans and old folks is torn apart by an act of mercy. The Singapore Flyer is reinvented as a political prison. In this collection of nine tales, Clara Chow examines an alternative Singaporean landscape—one that exists only on paper—and the people we might be in it. A former newspaper correspondent, she interviews nine architects about chimeric structures and sets short stories in them. A hybrid of journalism and fiction, Dream Storeys documents the voices of urban visionaries, while taking their ideas into inventive, evocative new territories.
Yen Yen Wu • Chang Jiat-Hwee • Nirmal Kishnani • Lai Chee Kien • Michael Leong • Mark Wee • Olivia Tang • Joshua Comaroff • Tan Kok Hiang
About the Author
Clara Chow lives and writes in Singapore. A former The Straits Times arts correspondent,
she was also My Paper’s ‘Manic Mummy’ columnist from 2007 to 2013. Her short stories have appeared in the Asia Literary Review, CHA: An Asian Literary Journal, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (QLRS) and The Stockholm Review of Literature. In 2015, she co-founded
the literary and art journal WeAreAWebsite.com. Find her online at clarachow.weebly.com
“An inventive combination of non-fiction and fiction, with expertly crafted and unpredictable short stories. The exquisite and precise details in Clara Chow’s stories bring to life the fantastical structures dreamt of by her interviewees.”
—Dave Chua, author of Gone Case
“By mirroring real-life architectural dreams with a fictional narrative, Clara Chow has produced an intriguing and original literary structure. Her somewhat dystopian world is a discomforting vision of a future where people struggle to adapt to societies very different from today, yet are still guided by a deep sense of their own humanity and their connection to each other.”
—Meira Chand, author of A Different Sky
“We are accustomed to think of Singapore as a small island bound by a singular story. In Clara Chow’s genre-bending new book, it becomes a landscape of many dreams, in which architects’ fantasy projects provide a pretext for the revisions, reconstructions, and demolitions of counter-narratives.”
—Professor Philip Holden, English Language and Literature, National University of Singapore, and author of Heaven Has Eyes
“I don’t remember reading a crossgenre title like this, wonderfully traversing creative fiction, research and documentation without hitting a clunky, postmodernist note. Clara Chow’s agile blend of journalisticrigour and narrative empathy pays off handsomely. Rooted in reality and taking off into the heady realm of imagination, her stories are propelled by an urge to find a heart in the architecture of our lives, as characters navigate these dream structures, trying to find a human connection.”
—Yeow Kai Chai, co-editor at Quarterly Literary Review Singapore and author of Pretend I'm Not Here
"The masterful combination of journalism and fiction makes Dream Storeys by far the most impactful SingLit read for me. If you have a strange affinity towards buildings too, this book will make you think harder about them."
—Anthony Koh Waugh, bookseller and writer
• • •ISBN: 978-981-11-0907-2 (Paperback) | 978-981-14-0893-9 (E-book)
Dimension: 130mm x 200mm