Ponti (Hardback)Sharlene Teo (author)
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'Remarkable . . . her characters glow with life and humour' - Ian McEwan
2003. Singapore. Friendless and fatherless, sixteen-year-old Szu lives in the shadow of her mother Amisa, once a beautiful actress and now a hack medium performing seances with her sister in a rusty house. When Szu meets the privileged, acid-tongued Circe, they develop an intense friendship which offers Szu an escape from her mother's alarming solitariness, and Circe a step closer to the fascinating, unknowable Amisa.
Seventeen years later, Circe is struggling through a divorce in fraught and ever-changing Singapore when a project comes up at work: a remake of the cult seventies horror film series `Ponti', the very project that defined Amisa's short-lived film career. Suddenly Circe is knocked off balance: by memories of the two women she once knew, by guilt, and by a past that threatens her conscience . . .
Told from the perspectives of all three women, Ponti by Sharlene Teo is an exquisite story of friendship and memory spanning decades. Infused with mythology and modernity, with the rich sticky heat of Singapore, it is at once an astounding portrayal of the gaping loneliness of teenagehood, and a vivid exploration of how tragedy can make monsters of us.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 443 g
Dimensions: 223 x 142 x 28 mm
'Too many first novels coast along on a fad-like buzz rather than the promise of a genuine upward trajectory, but everything about Ponti suggests it's the rare, real deal and Teo's a writer we'll be reading for many years to come.' - Financial Times
'Exquisite, lush and menacing . . . the Singapore in Sharlene Teo's Ponti is vivid and immediate, its people complex, beautifully sketched and captivating . . . colourful and bewitching' - TLS
'Remarkable . . . With brilliant descriptive power and human warmth, Sharlene Teo summons the darker currents of modernity - environmental degradation, the suffocating allure of the sparkling modern city and its cataracts of commodities and corrupted language. Against this, her characters glow with life and humour and minutely observed desperation' - Ian McEwan
'Witty, moving and richly evocative, Ponti paints a portrait of a country and a people negotiating the throes of modernity. It also announces a major talent - Sharlene Teo has produced not just a singular debut, but a milestone in South East Asian literature' - Tash Aw, author of Five Star Billionaire
'An unforgettable story of female friendship' - Elle Magazine
'The loneliness of adolescence is a monstrosity manifesting in equally ugly and poetic ways. Ponti is a weird and beautiful bildungsroman and Teo's writing shines as totally radical' - The Skinny
'A sticky, atmospheric tale of resentment and loneliness' - Tatler
'You know those books you can read again? And again? And again? Well, prepare for Sharlene Teo's incredible Ponti . . . a densely layered story of a fading horror actress, Amisa; her unhappy teenage daughter, Szu and her acid-tongued best friend, Circe, which jumps from generations, decades and viewpoints, weaving in unsettling myths to boot . . . entrancing . . . A modern gem' - Emerald Street
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I could not put Ponti down. Sharlene Teo has a way with words which is up there with the greats. I felt like I was reading a prize-winner, the descriptions of sweltering Singapore left me heady and drained.
“About Monsters and the Monstrous ”
by Sharlene Teo
Pub Date: 19 Apr 2018
Sam W, Reviewer
Last updated on 20 Mar 2018
I Recommend This Book
Ponti is a book about monsters, and people being... More
“Lush and Multi-layered”
This is a deceptively simple story about the relationship between three woman, moving from a sleepy mangrove backwater to the dizzying modern city of Singapore. Teo builds layers upon layers to this coming-of-age tale... More
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