Contemplative and filled with possibility, each evanescent story in this collection inhabits the fleeting, unrepeatable place between the falling droplets on our island of rain. A bed thief breaks into a HDB flat every day, only to steal a few hours’ rest. Singapore is interviewed as a psychiatric patient on National Day.
The Space Between the Raindrops is a remarkable collection of short stories told by a startling new voice. This book is perfect for a brief subway ride or the interval spent waiting for the bus, as well as that languid afternoon spent contemplating a thunderstorm.
“In this moving, inspired collection, Justin Ker doesn’t just show us the space between the raindrops, he shows us the space between everything: every person, every thought, every moment. This is flash fiction at its best.”
—Robert Swartwood, USA Today bestselling author of Man of Wax and editor of Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer
“Justin Ker’s stories are like forgotten keys and misplaced umbrellas—seemingly simple snippets of indispensable reality that have the power to turn things on their head. The vivid images he paints settle like truth in depths of the stomach, while the silent emotions these pieces hold seep in through pores to possess the reader in a way that is innocuous yet intensely personal. These are words that leave both a smile on one's face and a lump in one’s throat.”
—Krishna Udayasankar, author of Objects of Affection and of The Aryavarta Chronicles
“The stories in Justin Ker’s The Space Between the Raindrops deftly capture and unravel both the off-kilter and the meditative. His stories are revelatory, intriguing and delightfully absurd. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.”
—Kristine Ong Muslim, author of We Bury the Landscape and Grim Series
“Justin Ker lays bare the workings of his mind in his first collection of short stories...The most eloquently poetic are stories inspired by patients he has seen or his experiences in hospitals...His writing brings to mind another neurosurgeon who wrote fiction, the late Gopal Baratham.”
—Akshita Nanda, The Sunday Times
“The Space Between the Raindrops is an assured, promising debut, with an accomplished style mostly free of infelicities that have plagued other debuts. Ker's stories focus on moments that break up the merciless tide of time, giving us space and time to re-examine the significance of details, people and relationships. He teaches us to view the world in new, ingenious ways, and that the transience of things demands that we pay attention to each second, and not allow time to simply wash over and somehow still leave us dry. Epigram [Books] must be commended for bringing another talented prose writer into print, on the heels of Amanda Lee Koe's Singapore Literature Prize win. We can only hope for even more, and even better.”
—Daryl Lim Wei Jie, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore
“Like Amanda Lee Koe's Ministry of Moral Panic, these stories are original and distinctively Singaporean. What I find intriguing is how this book managed to leave me with a lingering ache and a familiar longing for a memory that's not even mine”.
—Humairah, The Book Jacket
“Justin Ker’s debut The Space Between the Raindrops [contains] shorter pieces but with a distinct and refreshing style, layering sly observations over each other, point and counter-point.”
—Joshua Ip, award-winning author of Sonnets from the Singlish
“Ker’s stories are fresh and unpredictable, making the book a page turner…an insightful read for those who are willing to weather the thought-provoking storm to expand their horizon.”
—Clarissa Cheang, npTribune
“The most haunting, suggestive and intricately woven work of fiction I’ve read in many seasons. Justin Ker’s beautifully titled and impeccably delivered evocation of everything that’s just beyond us, and of all those moments that won’t let us go, mesmerised me for hours. Drawing on his command of medicine, his intimacy with everywhere from Iran to South Sudan and his exceptionally nuanced sense of the places where we touch—in body and in heart—he has conjured up one spell after another, till I found I was reading the whole book through, forwards and then backwards, to see how this Julia or that fleeting reference to Taiwan quietly rhymed with another. His vision of incompleteness makes for one of the most complete—and fulfilling—reading experiences any of us will ever encounter.”
—Pico Iyer, author of The Lady and the Monk and This Could Be Home
About the Author
Justin Ker is a medical doctor at the National Neuroscience Institute, Singapore. He has a special interest in the injured brain and its damaged memories. His story “Joo Chiat and Other Lost Things” won second prize in the 2011 Golden Point Awards for fiction, and was anthologized in The Epigram Books Collection of Best New Singaporean Short Stories in 2013. He received the National Arts Council’s Emerging Artists Grant in 2005. The Space Between the Raindrops is his first book.
Size: 130 x 200mm
Published: October 2014