By an author described by critics as "the most accomplished Malaysian writer, full stop," Lake Like a Mirror is a scintillating exploration of the lives of women buffeted by powers beyond their control. Squeezing themselves between the gaps of rabid urbanization, patriarchal structures and a theocratic government, these women find their lives twisted in disturbing ways.
In precise and disquieting prose, Ho Sok Fong draws her readers into a richly atmospheric world of naked sleepwalkers in a rehabilitation center for wayward Muslims, mysterious wooden boxes, gossip in unlicensed hairdressers, hotels with amnesiac guests, and poetry classes with accidentally charged politics--a world that is peopled with the ghosts of unsaid words, unmanaged desires and uncertain statuses, surreal and utterly true.
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About the Author
HO SOK FONG is the author of one other short story collection, Maze Carpet. Her literary awards include the Chiu Ko Fiction Prize (2015), the 25th China Times Short Story Prize, and the 30th United Press Short Story Prize. She has a PhD in Chinese Language & Literature from NTU Singapore, and lives in Malaysia.
Natascha Bruce translates fiction from Chinese. Her work includes short stories by Hong Kong surrealist writer Dorothy Tse, Lonely Face by Singapore's Yeng Pway Ngon and, with Nicky Harman, A Classic Tragedy by Xu Xiaobin.
Winner of a PEN Translates award
"Dreamlike...[Ho Sok Fong] has created a world in these stories that is entirely, and uniquely, her own. Straddling the surreal and the pointedly political, Ho reveals herself to be a writer of immense talent and range." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Excellent...Ho Sok Fong's vivid imagination and keen eye for women's pain, gracefully translated, are hallmarks of a deeply talented writer." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
"[Ho Sok Fong's] writing is beguiling and seasoned with striking imagery." --Guardian
"Ho's stories force the reader to cogitate uncertainty--that is the punch that Ho packs." --Chicago Review of Books
"Striking... Ho Sok Fong's fable-like constructions are sometimes cryptic, often surprising, and almost always moving." --Foreword Reviews
"Lake Like a Mirror is more evidence, if more were needed, that Chinese-language literature is thriving in Southeast Asia. Ho writes free from both the censorship that prevails in mainland China but also behind a linguistic veil that must to at least some extent shield her from the petty tyrannies that can sometimes be imposed by English and the internationalism that comes with it, a veil that is only drawn back for us readers by the efforts of her able translator Natascha Bruce." --Asian Review of Books
"Ho's stories are powerfully unsettling not because they are strange, but because, especially for Malaysian readers, they are so familiar and real." --Mekong Review
"The nine stories in [Ho Sok Fong's] second collection are troubling and enigmatic, as they try to make sense of a society that seeks to oppress freedom. In precise and unsettling prose, each one considers, in its own unique way, the words that go unsaid and the lives that go unlived...The focus of the collection as a whole: the damage done to women denied a voice." --Irish Times
"The most accomplished Malaysian writer, full stop."-Promethean Fire Review