Winner of the Australian
/Vogel's Literary Award 1999.
'For the first time in my life, I saw my mother in relation to her family, and I didn't recognise her any more.These Singaporean roots of hers, this side of her - and possibly of me too - were unacceptable. I was determined not to belong, not to fit in, because I was Australian, and Mum ought to be Australian too. The tug of her roots, the blurring of her role from wife and mother to sister and aunt, angered me.'
On the eve of her mother's wake, Grace Tay flies to Singapore to join her father and brother and her mother's family. Here she explores her family history, looking for the answers to her mother's death. This beautiful and moving novel steps between Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, evoking the life, the traditions and tastes of a forceful Chinese family as well as the hardship, the cruelty and pain. Written in a fresh, contemporary voice tinged with biting humour, this is a story about resilience, a story about migration, but in many ways it is a story about parents' expectations for their children.