Cover Story: No smoke, only mirrors

This article first appeared in Options, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on September 23, 2019 - September 29, 2019.
Cover Story: no smoke, only mirrors

Cover Story: no smoke, only mirrors

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Tash Aw recently released his fourth book, We, The Survivors, to rave reviews. He talks to Petrina Fernandez about the inspiration behind his protagonist, the unvarnished truths of poverty and privilege, and carving a livelihood from the written word.

It is standing room only at Lit Books by 8pm on a stormy Thursday night. Wet umbrellas drip in a corner, little bells trill in welcome as the door swings open and shut and the murmurs of a restless crowd rise and fall.

Guest of honour Tash Aw is sitting outside, answering the few questions we are able to squeeze in before his Meet the Author session. Torrential rain and inevitable traffic had turned the 20-minute drive from his parents’ home in Damansara to the independent bookstore at Tropicana Avenue into an hour-long nightmare, resulting in our delayed interview.

“You would think I would know this by now, but traffic here still manages to surprise me,” he says, apologising profusely. He is graciousness personified and, coupled with his eloquence and steady eye contact, makes for a delightful conversationalist.

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