Let's Give It Up for Gimme Lao!
Finalist for the 2015 Epigram Books Fiction Prize
Shortlisted for the Singapore Book Awards 2017 (Best Fiction Title)
Shortlisted for the Popular Readers' Choice Awards 2016 - English (Adult) Books Category
“I don’t aspire to be nice. I do what is necessary to get what I want.”
Born on the night of the nation’s independence, Gimme Lao is cheated of the honour of being Singapore’s firstborn son by a vindictive nurse. This forms the first of three things Gimme never knows about himself, the second being the circumstances surrounding his parents’ marriage, and the third being the profound (but often unintentional) impact he has on other people’s lives.
Talented, determined and focused, young Gimme is confident he can sail the seven seas, but he does not anticipate his vessel would have to carry his mother’s ambition, his wife’s guilt and his son’s secret. Tracing social, economic and political issues over the past 50 years, this humorous novel uses Gimme as a hapless centre to expose all of Singapore’s ambitions, dirty linen and secret moments of tender humanity.
“The plot wanders in an apparently artless, but in fact artful way... There’s a real sense of control here, and a consistent, organic voice...”
—Philip Holden, editor of Writing Singapore and a judge of the Epigram Books Fiction Prize 2015
About the Author
Never one to shy away from the road less taken, Sebastian spent his twenties backpacking around the world to soak up different experiences and cultures. “[I think] there is an advantage in writing when you’re older,” he remarks. “You have to live and explore life first. Don’t be afraid to try new things.”
Since returning home, he has published three Chinese wuxia novels between 2004 and 2012. As a former prisons officer, having to follow a strict schedule whilst writing wasn’t easy, and Sebastian remembers having to “wake up early, open a can of Red Bull and start writing. But when you’re passionate about something, it’s okay to make sacrifices.”
Let’s Give It Up For Gimme Lao! is Sebastian’s first English novel. He is also working on his second English novel, which will have a contemporary local setting.
Size: 225 x 152mm
Published: March 2016