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