by Felix Cheong
• Longlisted for the 2013 Frank O'connor International Short Story Award
3,000 people go missing every year in Singapore. Why do they go missing? What do they leave behind?
Felix Cheong’s Vanishing Point is the first work of fiction by a Singapore writer to be inspired by real-life cases of missing persons. These stories do not speculate where these people have gone to but are a creative leap-off to explore the theme of absences and obsessions.
In the story, ‘In the Dark’, a man who is obsessive-compulsive about white cleans his wife - literally - out of his life. In ‘Remember the Wormhole of 2030’, the prime minister of a small island nation abducts her ex-lover to prevent a scandal from exploding. In ‘The 10th Floor’, a crooked accountant has to deal nightly with strangers coming to his flat asking for a floor that doesn’t exist.
These are stories suffused with a sharp sense of the surreal and the satirical, compared by writers like Daren Shiau and Boey Kim Cheng to Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. Weaving in poetic turns of phrase for which he is known for, Cheong shows us how we often reach the vanishing point in the horizon even if we may not have physically vanished.
About the Author
Felix Cheong is a well-known figure in the Singapore literary scene and the author of eight books, including four volumes of poetry (I Watch The Stars Go Out, Sudden In Youth) and two young adult novels. His third poetry collection, Broken by the Rain (2003), was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize and his collection of short stories, Vanishing Point, was long-listed for the prestigious Frank O’Connor Award in 2013. His work has been widely published in journals, anthologized and featured on radio and TV. Felix has been invited to writers’ festivals all over the world, including Edinburgh, West Cork, Sydney, Christchurch and Hong Kong. Recently, he has also published satirical flash fiction in Singapore Siu Dai and Singapore Siu Dai 2.
In 2000, he was conferred the Young Artist of the Year Award by the National Arts Council. Felix holds a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Queensland and is currently an adjunct lecturer with Murdoch University, University of Newcastle, LASALLE College of the Arts and Temasek Polytechnic.
“Full of trickery, like the illusionist in You Will Be Out like a Light, the sleights-of-hand echoing Murakami, but distinctly Singaporean and Cheong's. The dark humour, the surreal and macabre touches, the trenchant wit and well-observed details are mesmerising and subtly satirical, subversive of the values of the global city, which should be enthralled and surprised by its images caught in the mirrors of these pages.”
- Dr Boey Kim Cheng, Senior lecturer, University of Newcastle, and poet
“At once surprising and moving, these stories capture the lives of those who hover between this world and the next. Vanishing Point is a powerful exploration of the individual encountering his own mortality.”
- Dr Nancy Srebro Park, Southern Methodist University
“Felix Cheong has a powerful narrative idea: to look on the world we know from the station of an exit door. Each eventual non-closure is certain and deafening – but how do stories sound at the point just before words fall over the edge? These are unnerving, wonderfully nasty tales.”
- Dr Gwee Li Sui, Literary critic, poet, and graphic artist
“Cheong's stories are steeped in a kind of mysterious melancholy and Cheong brings them to life with his page-turning prose. As a fascinated reader, I found myself asking, where will Mr. Cheong go next? And usually, I felt myself riveted by the twists and turns that followed. These are stories that will not only keep you reading, they may keep you awake and wondering.”
- Dr David Fedo, Author of Carrots and Other Poems
"Ways of loss", a phrase from one of his stories, could be an alternative title to this riveting collection. Felix Cheong's characters, or parts of their bodies or spirits, as they are usually self-conflicted, vanish. The alert, nuanced prose style precariously balances the suspension between appearance and reality. The reader cannot help but read on.”
- Dr Robert Yeo, Poet, playwright, novelist and S.E.A. Write Award winner, 2012
"... one of the most unique publications by a local author to appear on our shelves in a long time."
- Cyril Wong, author of Let Me Tell You Something About That Night and The Dictator's Eyebrow, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore
"...Felix Cheong's work achieves a page-turner quality through the art of concealment and subtraction."
- Cecilia Chan, Cha, Asian Literary Journal
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Dimension: 130mm x 200mm