- About the Author
‘Yalpanam’, an old colonial house on Coal Island in Malaysia, is swarming with ghosts. Its inhabitant, one hundred and eighty-five year old recluse, Pushpanayagi, has been avoiding them for decades. But that is about to change. When eighteen-year-old neighbour Maxim Cheah, disgruntled at home, arrives on an apparent whim at ‘Yalpanam’, they begin an unlikely friendship that will rock Maxim’s world, and send Pushpanayagi whirling through space-time, back to 19th century and 1940s Malaya. Will the ghosts of the old lady’s past-a rigid British lepidopterist, his melancholic first wife, his deceptively vibrant second wife, their opium-addicted servant-release her? What will Maxim discover from her friendship with her enigmatic neighbour?
Shivani Sivagurunathan has been writing and publishing fiction and poetry for twenty years. Her writing has always been grounded in a Malaysian context and supported by a metaphysical foundation - it combines the local and the concrete with the universal and the abstract, reminiscent of the South American magical realist writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa.
In her first book, Wildlife on Coal Island, she created a fictional island as a means to explore the Malaysian context in ways that a non-fiction setting could not. The Indian writer Tabish Khair, described the book as 'R.K. Narayan's Malgudi, turned into an island, meets Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book in this highly readable collection of stories by a new and distinctive voice from Malaysia'. It was republished by HarperCollins India in 2012.
Her short stories and poems have appeared in numerous international journals and magazines including Cha: An Asian Literary Magazine, Agenda, Construction Literary Magazine and many others.
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 320
Year Published: 2021