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The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (The Malayan saga) by [Selina Siak Chin Yoke]
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The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (The Malayan saga) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,610 ratings
Part of: The Malayan saga (2 Books)

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Books In This Series (2 Books)

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From the Editor

Some stories transport you across the world and through time, to places and experiences otherwise unreachable. Like The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds did exactly that, allowing me to see through the eyes of young Chye Hoon, a girl of mixed Chinese-Malay heritage in late nineteenth-century British Malaya (currently Malaysia), and keeping me transfixed by her life’s journey until I closed the book some hours later.

My senses were bewitched by descriptions of sizzling garlic and burbling coconut milk, just as the portrayal of the young girl dreaming of her ancestors’ swords captured my heart. By the time Chye Hoon leaves girlhood behind and takes up the mantle of matriarch, I was deeply committed to following her destiny and that of her children, all struggling to find a place in a world that is increasingly shifting toward the West.

Loosely based on her own family, each of author Selina Siak Chin Yoke’s characters breathes on the page. My heart broke for them as their worlds changed forever, their dreams morphing as they acclimated or succumbed to the forces of colonialism. The overriding message is one of hope and survival, and the book is a testimony to the power of food, friendship, and family.

- Elizabeth DeNoma, Editor

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Editorial Reviews


A Goodreads Best Book of the Month

“In this vividly drawn, deeply affecting first novel, a spirited girl who is forbidden to attend school as a child is inspired by the warrior myths of her ancestral past told to her by her mother. Though uneducated, Chye Hoon goes on to forge her own destiny as a cook, famed for her savory kueh cakes. Author Selina Siak Chin Yoke’s special magic draws us instantly and poignantly into Chye Hoon’s epic struggle to preserve her family as well as her vanishing culture.” —Laura Esquivel, author of Pierced by the Sun and the New York Times bestselling Like Water for Chocolate

About the Author

Of Malaysian-Chinese heritage, Selina Siak Chin Yoke grew up listening to family stories and ancient legends, always knowing that one day she would write. After an eclectic life as a theoretical physicist, investment banker and trader in London, the heavens intervened. In 2009, Chin Yoke was diagnosed with cancer, the second major illness she had to battle. While recovering, she decided not to delay her dream of writing any longer. She is currently working on her second book and also writes a blog about Malaysia at

Product details

  • ASIN : B01DF0TM78
  • Publisher : Amazon Crossing (November 1, 2016)
  • Publication date : November 1, 2016
  • Language : English
  • File size : 2882 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 476 pages
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,610 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
1,610 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on October 1, 2016
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270 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on September 8, 2019
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22 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on January 6, 2017
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65 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful! Read this book and you will Breathe the Two Worlds too.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 16, 2016
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14 people found this helpful
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Pen Peters
4.0 out of 5 stars Nyonya Malaysian Family Story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 11, 2020
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One person found this helpful
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Book addict
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 13, 2017
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6 people found this helpful
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 29, 2017
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3 people found this helpful
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vicky n
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 26, 2017
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