The Accidental Malay
- About the Author
Look inside the book | Get the e-book
Winner of the 2022 Epigram Books Fiction Prize
Jasmine Leong wants to be the next CEO of Phoenix, her family's billion-ringgit company known especially for its bak kwa. But when Jasmine discovers she is actually a Malay Muslim, her newfound identity threatens to upend her life and ambitions. Set in Kuala Lumpur and other areas of Malaysia, The Accidental Malay examines the human cost of a country's racial policies, and paints a portrait of a woman unwilling to accept the fate history has designated for her.
"Desire, religion and politics collide in this delicious début by Karina Robles Bahrin. Slick, sharp and full of the frustrations and joys of modern urban Malaysia, The Accidental Malay is a joy to read."
—Tash Aw, celebrated author of We, The Survivors
"An intriguing story, beautifully paced, centred around the many complications of love in Malaysia. Its truths will be controversial but there’s no denying Karina’s storytelling talent. A very enjoyable read."
—Marina Mahathir, writer and activist
"Delightfully transgressive, The Accidental Malay is a deeply nuanced study in the sometimes suffocating intertwining of race and religion for Malay-Muslims. Part comedy of errors and part social drama, this novel adds to the slowly burgeoning but altogether necessary postcolonial body of works on Malay people by Malay people. For regional readers, it needs to be on your must-read list to better understand thy neighbour. For international readers, it's a worthy read on race and identity."
—Suffian Hakim, bestselling author of Harris bin Potter and the Stoned Philosopher and The Keepers of Stories
"A sharply observed, elegantly crafted culture-clash state-of-the-nation drama that is not only witty but heartfelt."
—Amir Muhammad, author, filmmaker, publisher at Buku Fixi and EBFP 2022 judge
"A novel both generous and scathing; both honest and nuanced; both grounded in human emotion and engaged with history and politics. Most of all, The Accidental Malay is both entertaining and important, a fast-paced, character-driven, furious and yet somehow joyful exploration of Malay ethnoreligious supremacy in Malaysia and its effect on real people's lives."
—Preeta Samarasan, author of Evening Is the Whole Day
"Braving the intersections and contradictions of race, class and gender, one woman’s private campaign for self-definition becomes a search for love amidst corporate manoeuvrings, familial pressures and the challenging complexities of her country’s cultural politics."
—Cyril Wong, poet, fictionist and author of This Side of Heaven
"They say to never equate a writer to his or her book, as they are two separate things, but The Accidental Malay has Karina's gumption and bravado. This is a novel that is truthful, humorous, sharp and yet is an ode to Malaysia's political circus. Read this book and prepare to get angry, laugh and hoot at the outrageousness."
—Dina Zaman, writer and co-founder of IMAN Research
Karina Robles Bahrin got her first break as a writer when she guest edited a weekly teen column in The New Straits Times a very long time ago. Her short fiction has been published in venues such as Urban Odysseys: KL Stories, KL Noir: Blue, A Subtle Degree of Restraint & Other Stories and Malaysian Tales: Retold & Remixed. She is a former columnist with The Heat, a weekly by Focus Malaysia. She currently lives and works on the island of Langkawi, Malaysia. The Accidental Malay is her first novel.
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 232
Year Published: 2022
Size: 225mm x 152mm