Touch like a pulse.

A young man dies by his own hands, and leaves behind a note urging his mother to remember Godzilla’s touch, a reference to her relationship with Natalie Chia in 1970s Singapore.

Pulse is the story of Natalie, an acupuncturist in Toronto’s Chinatown who decides to return to Singapore to uncover the truths behind this tragedy. Selim and Natalie, although a generation apart, share secrets that they’ve kept from their families. Natalie discovers that her past with her domineering father may be the key to understanding Selim’s death.

A novel about unrequited love and the compelling power of memory, Pulse investigates the disturbing force of personal and collective trauma, while testifying to the resiliency of the human spirit.

 Read Chapter One here



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“…there is a fullness in Pulse, in both characters and settings, that gives the novel colour, complexity and a kind of buoyancy…” —David Fedo, author of Carrots and Other Poems, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore

“Pulse relentlessly explores the limits of knowability—cultural boundaries of knowledge, the seemingly impassable divide between one person and another, and the temporal gaps that render memory unstable yet ever‐present.” —Christopher Lee, In Canadian Literature

“Kwa, who was born in Singapore and now lives in Vancouver, writes in streams of laconic sentences that communicate her characters’ milieus... She is at her best when showing the reader her story through sensory details.” —David Chau, Ricepaper Magazine

“While the novel contains plenty of intrigue, it unfolds in a slow, meticulous way, allowing Kwa to merge her two greatest loves - writing and psychology - as the author delves into themes of love, death and forgiveness.” —Justin Skinner, Inside Toronto


Lydia Kwa