Fragile Monsters (Hardback)Catherine Menon (author)
***ONE OF TELEGRAPH'S BEST NOVELS OF 2021***
***SHORTLISTED FOR THE AUTHORS' CLUB BEST FIRST NOVEL AWARD 2022***
'Supple, artful, skilful storytelling - it takes an immediate grip on the reader's imagination and doesn't let go' HILARY MANTEL
Mary is a difficult grandmother for Durga to love. She is sharp-tongued and ferocious, with more demons than there are lines on her palms. When Durga visits her in rural Malaysia, she only wants to endure Mary, and the dark memories home brings, for as long as it takes to escape.
But a reckoning is coming. Stuck together in the rising heat, both women must untangle the truth from the myth of their family's past. What happened to Durga's mother after she gave birth? Why did so many of their family members disappear during the war? And who is to blame for the childhood tragedy that haunts her to this day?
In her stunning debut novel Catherine Menon traces one family's story from 1920 to the present, unravelling a thrilling tale of love, betrayal and redemption against the backdrop of natural disasters and fallen empires. Written in vivid technicolour, with an electric daughter-grandmother relationship at its heart, Fragile Monsters explores what happens when secrets fester through the generations.
As they will learn, in a place ravaged by floods, it is only a matter of time before the bones of the past emerge.
'A brilliant novel about homecoming and the layered, unstable past that haunts and hurts . . . I admire it enormously' Colm Toibin
'A propulsive debut scattered with gems of fresh and surprising imagery' Preti Taneja
'A beautiful, richly textured absorbing read. I was utterly transported' Irenosen Okojie
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 461 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 26 mm
A brilliant novel about homecoming and the layered, unstable past that haunts and hurts . . . I admire it enormously
An impressive debut, atmospheric and unsettling * Telegraph, 5 stars *
A striking debut . . . A bold, interesting novel . . . I'm excited to see what Menon comes up with next * Sunday Times *
A bravura debut novel . . . It's clever, satisfying, and often playful * Guardian *
This is a book saturated with the sensations of southeast Asia; where, in Menon's pungent turns of phrase, you feel as though you could "grab the air in two hands and wring it out"; where guilt can be "squatting in the room . . . stringy as spit", and where tiger princes and jungle spirits lurk amid a painful colonial past * The Times, pick of the latest fiction *
A rich and moving family history takes shape, filled with love and heartache, guilt and grief, and no end of secrets and lies . . . Gripping, compelling . . . Menon's story shows that, though time flows on, history's waves still ripple decades downstream * Economist *
Menon is a sparky storyteller whose thickly atmospheric debut keeps us guessing as its many ghosts press in ever closer * Daily Mail *
A beautiful, richly textured absorbing read. I was utterly transported * Irenosen Okojie *
A propulsive debut scattered with gems of fresh and surprising imagery. Menon is at her best exploring the intricate bond between women over generations, their histories strung tight over the fraught realities of a nation coming into being * Preti Taneja *
Always here for a cross-generational family story, especially one that involves moral ambivalence * Marian Keyes selection for her PageTurners top reads *
An intriguing, fast-paced, imaginative novel * Bad Form *
A beautifully written story of one Indian Malaysian family's history, entwined with secrets and hidden heartbreak . . . Fragile Monsters is a story of homecoming which illustrates the tension of returning to a past which remains painfully present . . . a cleverly-crafted family saga which explores themes of truth, belonging and shame across multiple generations * Asian Review of Books *
Leavened with a brisk, dry humour, Fragile Monsters is as propulsive as any mystery, with a bewitching sense of place . . . an accomplished feat of multi-stranded storytelling * Evening Standard *
Lyrically beautiful writing * i *
Spellbinding * Tatler Malaysia *
A story about love, betrayal and redemption with an electric daughter-grandmother relationship at its heart * Sheer Luxe, reading recommendation *
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“Spell-binding and beautifully told.”
Such a spell-binding and beautifully told story. The characters kept changing and becoming more and more interesting until the very last word. It was a treat to read. One of the really wonderful things that I've... More
“Depressing and unlikeable”
I’d like to take a moment to thank the publisher and netgalley for an arc in exchange of an honest review.
I was excited when I started this to read more about Malaysia and the culture. Everything feels so real and... More
“Storytelling at its best!”
Fragile Monsters is the debut of Catherine Menon, known for her excellently crafted short stories.
The story opens with Durga, a mathematics lecturer visiting her grandmother, Mary, in rural Malaysia after ten years.... More
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