Title: Moth Stories Author: Leonora Liow ISBN: 978

Moth Stories
Leonora Liow
Book Size:
130mm by 200mm
$20.00 (before gst) |
$21.40 (after gst)
Fiction, Short Stories
Published by: Ethos Books
About the Book
A young girl’s ambitions prompt dark stirrings in her nature. A father reckons with a
lifetime of dysfunctional family relations. A foreign worker is cut adrift on a raft of
shattered dreams. In the title story “Moth”, a condemned woman reclaims her broken
In a collection that resonates with life’s poignance, humour and irony, Leonora Liow
explores the private universe of individuals navigating the arcane waters of human
existence and masterfully illuminates the extraordinary humanity that endures.
About the Author
Leonora Liow is a Singapore-based writer. She won the Golden Point award in 2003
with her short story, “Pentimento”. Moth Stories is her first published collection.
When they had first started seeing each other, Raymond had wanted to fetch her from the bus-stop
not two minutes from her block, just in front of Uncle Soon’s shop and Auntie Hiok’s food stall;
even then, from that first time, two years ago, an instinct had made her tell him firmly, No.
What would Uncle Soon or Ah Eng say to see a Jaguar drawing to a halt for her?
They would see unpleasant things, ugly things. They would fail to see that she
had come into a different world. They could not be faulted, because their own world was so limited.
They would feel judged, and envious that she, Ah An, who came from this same place, had the real
possibility of better things.
But there it was, the fact, monolithic and unarguable: that you could get out of it. It was a
matter of knowing what you wanted.
And seizing the moment.
* * *
For the Agnes who now stood waiting in the shadows for a Jaguar sports car was not the Agnes who
bought duck rice and pressed her own dress and manoeuvred in that cramped squat-toilet with a
leaking hand-held shower hose. In fact, it was not even model-girl, but another person altogether.
Someone who was a stranger to the Sin Tong estate, to its wet-market and the smells of its canal at
low tide, the hodge-podge shops, the fumes of the groaning buses—a stranger alike to the workaday
world of the Cosmo Modelling Agency, with its deadly and petty rivalries, its striving, its futility.
This Agnes now looked with detachment at the sight of a work-bedraggled world lumbering by on
buses, yoked to an unremitting succession of days each one as dun as its preceding one. This Agnes
knew one truth. That you could be freed from all this.
When had she formulated this? Agnes could not have said. But she knew there was no one here
in the Sin Tong Estate in a position to question her goals, much less its methods.
Who would understand? Agnes’s khol-rimmed eyelids flickered. The aqueous light of
fluorescent street lamps filtered through the tracery of angsana branches. Laden vehicles groaned past
with sardine-compacted forms huddled in their rear, or swaying against each other in drudge-weary
masses. At the depot ten minutes away they would alight, some for the estate to the east: some
making their way back here, others destined for further buses that would take them onward to the
nether regions of the island.
No, thought Agnes, her body tensing each time a reddish blur appeared in the distant view. No
one was in a position to understand what she wanted, much less judge her. Certainly not Theresa,
waiting on the decision of a man. Certainly not her own mother, imprisoned in her philosophy of an
inexorable fate. And certainly not Susie with her well-meant but terribly misplaced advice on how
one circumvented it. Agnes’s gaze moved restlessly up and down the road. She, Agnes Yee, could not
say any one of them knew anything about life.
The bigger life, where you yourself were its master, not a man, not fate, not chance.
She, Agnes, knew what this life was: the life you went out and got for yourself. And she knew
better than anyone of them the sensible way to go about it.
About Ethos Books
Fresh. Different. Enduring.
Books that capture the spirit of a people ▪ Books that delve into burning issues of the day ▪
Books that reflect the ethos of our changing times.
Ethos Books, an imprint of Pagesetters Services Pte Ltd, was set up in 1997. Ethos aims to give
voice to both emerging and established writers, as well as nurture the growing literary
community in Singapore. It publishes books on history, culture, the arts, politics, poetry, fiction,
and a lot more in between.
Find out more about Ethos Books:
www.ethosbooks.com.sg | www.facebook.com/ethosbooks
For book orders or further information, please contact:
Kum Suning, Management Executive, Pagesetters Services Pte Ltd
Tel: 6659 1749 Fax: 6659 1742, [email protected]
Chan Wai Han, Business Development Manager, Pagesetters Services Pte Ltd
Tel: 6659 1749 / 9818 3992, [email protected]
Ethos Books
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