04 March 2013
Something bookish... hmm. Also, what I'm reading now. I'm reading 10 books according to GoodReads, and usually I'm reading one or two more books than I bother to list on GoodReads. The one I have with me at work now is the anthology KL Noir: Red by Fixi Novo, the very new Malaysian imprint that does "American-language" fiction. KL Noir: Red is the second book published by Fixi Novo (the first being Son Complex by Kris Williamson, which is a bestseller in our SEA Lit category) and comprises of 15 short stories. It's the first of a series of four "KL Noir" anthologies, which will be coloured red, white, blue and yellow (the colours of the Malaysian flag).
Some of the stories have been printed elsewhere, like Preeta Samarasan's "Rukun Tetangga", which was also in the Urban Odysseys: KL Stories anthology, Shih-Li Kow's "A Gift of Flowers" which was in her collection Ripples and Other Stories, and Khairulnizam Bakeri's "Vanished", which was translated from his Malay story "Cari", originally published in Cerpen. Most of the authors are already known to local readers - I'm a fan of Brian Gomez and Dina Zaman (whose contribution to this collection is also a reprint from her book I Am Muslim), and several of the others have published books in Malay under the original Fixi imprint and have already built up quite a fanbase here. Kris Williamson of Son Complex has a short story in here. So far I've read five of the fifteen stories, and enjoyed them all. I especially liked Brian Gomez's "Mud" and Shih-Li Kow's "A Gift of Flowers", for different reasons. (I recommend Shih-Li Kow's Ripples and Other Stories and Brian Gomez's Devil's Place, if you haven't read them!)
The thing about KL Noir: Red is that the book launch was held at the store I work in. Amir Muhammad, the person behind Fixi, Fixi Novo, and Matahari Books (also writer and filmmaker) hosted the event, and we had ten of the fifteen authors give a brief reading and introduction to their stories. With bookstore events, usually the biggest problem is filling up the space. But with KL Noir: Red it was the opposite - a little too crowded, perhaps. But fun. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and responded to the readings pretty well. The signing part was a little messy at the end, because usually the authors would stand or sit (their preference) at the table we prepared for the talk, and the audience could line up to meet them. But this time the authors were all mingling with the crowd after the talks, which made lining up really hard, so I think there might have been confusion for some of the audience who wanted to get their books signed. But we Malaysians are pretty used to stuff not being in order, so we figured stuff out quickly enough - I think. Ha.
Anyway, the launch was held on February 27th; it hasn't been a full week yet. But KL Noir: Red starts its first week #1 on our store's weekly bestsellers. I'm still reading it, but I'm looking forward to the next anthology (KL Noir: White) already, which is due to be published at the end of the year.
|Brian Gomez reading from "Mud"|