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A Fickle and Restless Weapon

Publisher: Epigram Books
  • Description
  • Praise
  • About the Author
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    Quek Zhou Ma, a performer who goes by the stage name Zed, returns to the island nation of Tinhau after a long absence to attend the funeral of his older sister. As he deals with conflicting feelings about a homeland he hardly recognises, he decides to produce a lavish production with the Ministry of Culture, but opening night is marred by a bombing attributed to a local resistance group, Red Dhole.

    He meets Tara, a graphic designer with the Ministry of Culture who finds herself uneasily associated with Red Dhole. She is charged with bringing Zed over to the cause, but as they grow closer, she has doubts about completing her task. Meanwhile, Vahid Nabizadeh, Zed’s creative partner and a master puppeteer, finds a new home in Tinhau, but he becomes embroiled in political and financial intrigue that threatens to unbalance the stability of the government.

    As Zed, Tara and Vahid struggle with their disaffected identities, Tinhau is attacked by the Range, a mysterious cloud formation that appears without warning and destroys without mercy, a weapon as fickle and restless as the human mind.

  • “A supremely satisfying read and an achievement of epic proportions.” –Cha: An Asian Literary Journal

    “Thrilling, textured, fantastical.”
    —Ken Liu, multi-award-winning author of The Veiled Throne and The Hidden Girl and Other Stories

    “Reminiscent of the uncanny visions of Jeff VanderMeer and Don DeLillo and buoyed by Buddhist philosophy, this narrative deepens the speculative world of Tinhau through a complex web of major to side characters. Epic, imaginative, full of twists and psychological surprises, the novel raises an intriguing mirror to contemporary, global-capitalist realities, coming alive with mind-bending magic, unexpected transgenderism, and political machinations.”
    —Cyril Wong, Singapore Literature Prize-winning author of This Side of Heaven

     “Brims with larger-than-life events and heroic actions, but most impressive are the three, imperfect protagonists, trying to figure out their identities in a complex, shifting society. Lundberg’s Tinhau is a vibrant, deadly and creative world, much like our own.” Singapore Unbound

    “Armed with rich imagination refined by good writing and editing, layering an already culturally rich city with even more lines of meaning and mythicism. Easily immersing us into this bizarro world with enough heart and humour to keep us reading, Lundberg’s novel is a fascinating addition to the Singaporean speculative fiction canon, one that for all its oddities is a strong reflection of our current and future state of identity politics, and one that’s worth reading for its sheer audacity, bold ideas and unforgettable characters.” Bakchormeeboy (★★★★☆)

    “An intriguing, delightful and immersive universe, brought to life by Lundberg with verve and affection. [A] loving, uncanny take on our country by an insider-outsider who, in creating a fictional version of ourselves, ultimately also reminds us how we are indeed, as a shrewd gahmen once declared us to be, a city of possibilities.” Quarterly Literary Review Singapore

    "Some of my favourite parts of the novel are when Lundberg describes a distinctly Singaporean, I mean Tinhaunese, characteristic or scene, but then coyly slips in a fantastical element."
    Stephanie Ye, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore

    “With each fresh—and fearless—leap into another genre, Jason Erik Lundberg dares us to reimagine the world we know.” –Pico Iyer, celebrated author of The Lady and the Monk and This Could Be Home

    “Jason Erik Lundberg’s debut novel is a much-welcomed vortex into his majestic imagination and speculative inventivess. Lush and rich with sensuous textures and cultural details, the Tinhau of his creation is populated by a cast of humans and posthumans, local folk and transnationals, all living in a time when ‘Fear is Safety’. But where Lundberg truly shines is in his deep insight into the thematic threads of the book—art and agency, appetite and repression, identity and negation, isolation and engagement, wonder and loss and acceptance: the complex personal and external struggles of the individual versus authority, the endless match of the longing for freedom against the strict demands of society. There is one novel that you must read this year. This is it.”
    —Dean Francis Alfar, Palanca Grand Prize-winning author of Salamanca and A Field Guide to the Roads of Manila

    “In propulsive, crystalline prose, Jason Erik Lundberg masterfully orchestrates an ambitious, wide-ranging tale of shifting identities and political intrigue. Lundberg’s searing depiction of the imagined surveillance state of Tinhau raises probing, complex questions, giving readers no choice but to consider their world anew.”
    —Kirstin Chen, bestselling author of Bury What We Cannot Take and Soy Sauce for Beginners

    “The Republic of Tinhau is a welcome addition to the archipelago of literature’s imaginary islands. In A Fickle and Restless Weapon, Jason Erik Lundberg brings the reader to its shores and its stories with style and daring invention.”
    —Sjón, celebrated author of The Blue Fox and CoDex 1962

  • Jason Erik Lundberg was born in New York, grew up in North Carolina, and has lived in Singapore since 2007. He is the author and anthologist of over two dozen books, including A Fickle and Restless Weapon (2020), Most Excellent and Lamentable (2019), Diary of One Who Disappeared (2019), Carol the Coral (2016), Strange Mammals (2013), Embracing the Strange (2013), The Alchemy of Happiness (2012), Fish Eats Lion (2012), Red Dot Irreal (2011), the six-book Bo Bo and Cha Cha children’s picture book series (2012–2015), and the biennial Best New Singaporean Short Stories anthology series (est. 2013).

    He is also the fiction editor at Epigram Books (where the books he’s edited have won multiple awards, and made various year’s best lists since 2012), as well as the founding editor of LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction (2012–2018). His writing has been anthologised widely, shortlisted for multiple awards, honourably mentioned twice in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and translated into half a dozen languages. A Fickle and Restless Weapon is his first novel, and twenty-fifth book.

ISBN: 9789814785464
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 456
Size: 225mm x 152mm