Friday, April 3, 2020

Clarissa Goenawan

Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. Her award-winning short fiction has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in Singapore, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, the UK, and the US. Rainbirds, her first novel, has been published in eleven different languages.

Her new novel is The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida.

Recently I asked Goenawan about what she was reading. Her reply:
The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao.

The novel opens with Gwendolyn, still in comma, trying to retrace her memories. She is the sole survivor of a poisoning incident that wiped up her entire family and their circle of friends, some of the wealthiest Chinese Indonesian families. From the beginning, we know that the culprit was none other than her sister, Estella.

With such an impactful opening, I knew I couldn’t miss this book. Rather than a thriller, I would say it’s more of a family drama. The story itself is page-turning and Tiffany writes well, but what touched me the most is how relatable everything is. As an Indonesian-born Singaporean Chinese, I see so many familiar scenes in the book—good and bad, though mostly bad—which makes me ponder about my identity. Highly recommended!
Visit Clarissa Goenawan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue