Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Substation Fairy Tales/Eat, Pray, Love

On the advice of my Filipino friends, I've decided to do Noli Me Tangere, the first novel by José Rizal, of which El Filibusterismo is the sequel. As Vicente Garcia Groyon said,  "The Fili is tighter and leaner, but as it's a sequel, it's best to start with the Noli." (I love how we abbreviate these highfalutin Latin titles to make them sound Southeast Asian!)

In the meantime, I'd like to promote a new book I've got coming out, The Crocodile Prince. I don't have the cover, yet, but here's the publicity info for the launch!

The Substation Fairytales: Stories in the End 
Book Launch and Birthday Party 
Sunday 30 September 2012, 2pm-4pm 
The Substation Theatre 
45 Armenian Street
Admission: Free

After the publication of The Substation’s first book, Several Islands by Ho Rui An, comes not one but three books to add to your bedside reading collection. As the title suggests, these are fairytales – but not quite your regular tales of the damsel in distress and knight in shining armour. These are modern tales of love, identity, and belonging… not mere romantic pizzazz, but some of the things that really matter at the end of it all.

The three writers this year are Tania De Rozario, Bani Haykal and Ng Yi-Sheng, artists with different creative styles and interpretations of a modern fairytale. Tania’s story, Reasons for the Rain, is a poignant tale of serendipity and chance, of two strangers crossing paths in the concrete jungle. Bani’s modernist play, the artist and his subject, is shrouded in mystery from the outset, dealing with darker themes that the reader has to unravel. Yi-Sheng’s fable, The Crocodile Prince, is about a boy finding himself in a magical jungle of mystery.

Interest piqued? Come have a chat with the three authors during the combined book launch on Sunday 16 September from 2pm-4pm at the Substation Theatre!

This is held in conjunction with the Substation’s 22nd Birthday Party.
In other news, I'd like to report that I've just read the international feel-good American exotica phenomenon, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

It's good. I've read loads of critiques of it, but as a writer, and as a person who's going through some relationship oddness himself, and as someone who's just curious about travel and the world - I think rather well of it.

What's terribly interesting is the bits of the book that didn't make it into the movie (which I admittedly enjoyed), because they're the bravest portions of the text. Gilbert actually finds that kundalini blue light inside of herself, encounters all-encompassing bliss, while in her ashram in India - a moment that would infuriate both Christians and atheists watching it on the screen (they showed her frustrations with meditation instead, not the fact that she was actually able to overcome them).

Gilbert's reporting, from a cynical agnostic viewpoint, on the fact that guided spiritual transcendence is a very real phenomenon in our world, and that it is healing, and that it is non-denominational. And that might feed into Orientalism, but it's a genuine part of her journey. I respect that.

I also respect the fact that she acknowledges the imperfections of each place she visits: how the magnificent food of Sicily is counterbalanced by the horrific way the Mafia have abused the governance of the island; how Bali's apparent serenity belies a violent, bloody history, and the presence of absolutely good people who may be driven to cheat you.

Of course I also decided a while ago that anyone creating bestsellers must be doing something right. But anyhow, don't snub this book just because it's popular. It's worth a flip.

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