A Certain Exposure
Selected by The Business Times as one of the Best Books of 2014
Recommended by the National Library Board, Singapore and Ministry of Communications and Information
Satirical and sympathetic, political and personal, A Certain Exposure traces the adolescences of twin brothers Andrew and Brian, culminating in the explosive events leading to Andrew’s tragic death. This is a classic coming-of-age tale doubled across two vividly individual brothers, who struggle to navigate a complex tangle of relationships and coercive forces, cinematically interwoven with the yearnings and fears of an ensemble of mothers, fathers, cousins, friends and lovers both false and true. This wide-ranging debut beautifully presents the resonances and the ghosts of lost possibilities, as well as a gripping story of hope and betrayal.
“A masterful debut. Jolene Tan has written, in devastatingly beautiful prose, a quiet book about disquieting things. She lays bare the dark hearts of our sentimentalized HDB ‘Heartlanders’ and our vaunted government ‘scholars’ and finds: coldness, sanctimony, and corrosive attitudes the more damaging for their utter casualness. This is a passionate warning, a chronicle of tragedy foretold. How will we save our selves and our soul? Like Anthony Chen’s film Ilo Ilo, A Certain Exposure already has the feel of an essential Singapore classic.”
—Sandi Tan, author of The Black Isle
“A Certain Exposure is an intimately layered story about twin brothers forging different paths through the intricacies and prejudices of Singapore society, but will strike a chord wherever the struggle between personal values and social pressures is experienced.”
—Ovidia Yu, author of Aunty Lee’s Delights
“One of the best debuts of 2014, this sometimes strident but largely effective novel begins with the suicide of a government scholar and proceeds to dissect elitism, racism, homophobia and other taboo topics in Singapore.”
—Helmi Yusof, The Business Times
“[A]n exciting debut novel that delves beneath the surface of Singapore society, questioning the dominant value systems and asking if there’s a better way for us to live.”
—Jeremy Tiang, translator of Durians Are Not the Only Fruit: Notes from the Tropics, in “My Book of the Year”, Singapore Poetry
“Tan holds a merciless mirror to readers' eyes, showing how easily one moves into an accepted and existing pattern of behaviour. A writer to watch.”
—Akshita Nanda,The Straits Times
“Utilising her involvement in AWARE, Singapore’s leading gender equality advocate group, Jolene delves into social issues, like sexism, homophobia, and racism in a manner that painfully hits home.”
—Ang Jia Yun, npTribune
“One of the best novels I’ve read recently…a haunting story about elitism and prejudice in a society which recites daily pledges to maintain equality for all.”
—Balli Kaur Jaswal, author of Inheritance
About the Author:
Jolene Tan was born and grew up in Singapore. She has studied at Cambridge University and Harvard Law School, and currently works at AWARE, Singapore’s leading gender equality advocacy group. A Certain Exposure is her first novel.
Size: 130 x 200mm
Published: April 2014
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