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A Different Sky Paperback – July 4, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Random House UK (July 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099546248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099546245
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #689,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Chand is a skilled storyteller and a conscientious researcher who weaves gripping adventure, magnificent romance and well-informed history into the sort of book it’s difficult to put down and impossible to read in bed if you want a good night’s sleep!"  —Historic Novels Review


"This meticulously researched book is alive with engrossing detail, whether on the odour of Chinatown, the privations of a guerilla camp or the appalling rituals of foot binding."  —Guardian


"Historical fiction at its most complex and engaging . . . balances the communist groupings, Japanese occupation and emerging nationalism with skill . . . As history A Different Sky is engrossing: as fiction, highly enjoyable."  —Literary Review


"[Chand] proves herself a master of the modern Asian epic in this tale…[she] offers a credible, compelling panorama of the tragedy and resilience, culture and individuality, political evolution, dissolution, and renaissance of 20th-century Singapore."—Publishers Weekly


"the protagonists are richly and deeply drawn, the sights, sounds, and smells of Singapore are gorgeously rendered, and the principal characters' interwoven stories combine to form a compelling narrative."—Booklist

About the Author

Meira Chand is the author of several novels, including A Far Horizon.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
It was a great page turner; enjoyable.
KIM
There are multiple threads, told from points of view of characters of different races, and the characters are very believable and very well-developed.
Ashish Kumar
It was interesting to read about Lee Kuan Yew's early political role and the turmoil leading up to his election.
alicia waters

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
You should buy this book if (1) you enjoy big stories, (2) you want to be immersed in the sounds, smells and images, or (3) you want to absorb some Singapore history while on an engaging ride. If you live or have lived in Singapore, you must read this. If you have no idea where Singapore is, read it and learn.
So many of the great historic movements of the 20th century are captured in Singapore history - colonialism, WWII, Communism, anti-colonial struggles for independence, immigration and assimilation, multicultural society.... Meira Chand has written a compelling novel that illuminates an important part of Singapore's history through the stories of three main characters and scores of other characters. I am often too lazy to struggle through a sterile academic history and rely on fiction to build my understanding of a place, its people and its history. Unfortunately, I haven't found much fiction that meets these needs about Singapore until A Different Sky.
Spanning 30 years, a gentle history lesson is taught through the lives of well-drawn characters. We get to know the three principal characters, Mei Lan, Howard and Raj very well. Perhaps as many as a dozen other characters were distinct and memorable. Some deserve their own novels.
Living in modern Singapore it's important to recall what a different place it was in the mid-20th century. Today's bustling air-conditioned nation is a world apart from the world Chand so beautifully describes. She captures a time, the people and the situations that gave birth to modern Singapore.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CMP on December 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
Essential reading for all who live or have lived in Singapore whether local or expat, this richly detailed novel chronicles the lives of three compelling characters through dramatic events in the history of Singapore. Those witnessing the modern miracle that Singapore is today will be struck by the sharp contrast between the present and the humble origins of the city state. Meira Chand has created a compelling historical narrative which is hard to put down. This year's gift for all my friends and family!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Someone Else TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This took some time to get through thanks to the small print and density of the prose, but it was effort well spent. The story often lacks momentum, but the payoff for a little patience is a wealth of fascinating detail about Singapore from 1927 through 1956.

Chand explores the mix of ethnicities in Singapore and the racial hierarchy resulting from British colonial rule. She weaves together the lives of several major and minor characters representing all levels of that hierarchy, including Indian, Malay, Chinese, Japanese, Eurasian, and British.

The story begins and ends with citizens agitating for freedom from British rule. In between is World War II and the atrocities of Japanese occupation. That brutality is faithfully represented, along with the ruin Singaporeans faced when the war ended.

The author lives in Singapore and sought assistance from native sources, so her narrative has that ring of authenticity and gobs of local flavor.

If you cannot abide flaws in the mechanics of writing (dangling modifiers, excessive use of past perfect tense), this novel may try your patience. I was happy to overlook the writing flaws for the sake of my strong interest in the topic. I mention the errors only because I know some readers cannot bear them.

I read the paperback edition, not the Kindle edition, but Amazon will not let me change the edition indicated on my review.
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Format: Paperback
Singapore is a tiny country with a huge economy and a fascinating history. I have lived here for nine years. I have had "A Different Sky" and "The Singapore Grip" on my to-read list for a long time, and I am delighted to have finished "A Different Sky". I remember reading in a newspaper that it that it took Meira Chand eight years to write the book, and the effort she has put in really shows. I have learnt a lot about the history and making of Singapore from this book.

The storytelling is superb. There are multiple threads, told from points of view of characters of different races, and the characters are very believable and very well-developed. Singapore has Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian natives, and has been a British and Japanese colony. This "Singapore novel" makes good use of the different points of view that the setting makes possible.

This is a great work, full of historical and human interest.

Unfortunately, it takes some effort to warm up to the story, setting and characters because you have to get used to the style of writing. I also found, at least in my Kobo e-book version, a few errors such as references to Alexander (instead of Alexandra) Road. I found it very easy to overlook these defects.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was a great page turner; enjoyable. Also interesting to get to know about the history of Singapore to which I was oblivious. My next visit to Singapore will definitely be different.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am an expat in Singapore and I found this book enjoyable to read. The characters represent the multi-cultural groups and helps to understand Singapore in the thirties - fifties. I have recommended this book to many others.
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