It Never Rains on National Day
“In graceful, measured prose whose stillness masks a swirl of emotions ... these stories signal the arrival of an important writer.”
— Tash Aw, critically acclaimed author of We, The Survivors
Shortlisted for Singapore Literature Prize 2016 (English Fiction)
A woman fleeing her previous existence meets a fellow Singaporean on an overnight train in Norway. A foreign worker is decapitated in an HDB building site accident. A Singaporean wife must negotiate Beijing as her British husband awaits a heart transplant. And in different corners of the world, Singaporeans and exiles mark National Day in their own ways.
Jeremy Tiang’s debut collection weaves together the lives of its characters across the world—from Switzerland, Norway, Germany, China, Canada, Thailand, New York City and back to Singapore. These wry, unsettling stories ask how we decide where we belong, and what happens to those who don’t.
“The quietude and elegance of Jeremy Tiang's words almost belie the true power of his prose. These carefully observed stories defy categorisation - they are Singaporean only as much as they are trans-global only as much as they are post-national - and implore us to reconsider our identities in their (and by extension, our) oblique exactness. A class act.”
— Amanda Lee Koe, Ministry of Moral Panic, winner of the 2014 Singapore Literature Prize for Fiction
“Tiang's fiction oeuvre refreshingly goes beyond cliched heartland preoccupations, opting instead to step beyond the physical and psychical borders of Singapore to examine what tethers its people here.”
— Clara Chow, The Straits Times
“Tiang moves across social issues, artistic concerns, and domestic problems with a deft and subtle hand throughout. But it's the final three stories which pack a real punch, because that's when the worlds between the characters collide.”
— Tan Teck Heng, The Business Times
“There’s something inherently disparate yet diverse about the way we choose to tell our stories, and It Never Rains on National Day is no exception.”
— Eisabess Chee, Mothership.sg
“An engaging and penetrating examination of the Singaporean psyche, at home and abroad.”
— Dave Chua, The Girl Under the Bed
“With characters that are immediately familiar, and situations that manage to be both ordinary and tragic, It Never Rains on National Day is an incredibly engaging and sometimes uncomfortable look at belonging, un-belonging and the spaces in between. Once I started, I could not put it down.”
— Tania De Rozario, Tender Delirium
“Jeremy's writing is lyrical and soulful, drawing us effortlessly into the worlds of his many different characters. Grounded in Singapore but not limited to it, his stories reflect a deeper yearning for belonging and human connection.”
— Yu-Mei Balasingamchow, co-author of Singapore: A Biography
“Jeremy Tiang's prose is measured, elegant and beautifully constructed, but beneath that polished surface, these stories are a fierce, unsparing interrogation of privilege and disenfranchisement, alienation and belonging. He gets to the core of how place and displacement shape the human spirit. Tiang has created a profound, moving, even troubling portrait of the Global Singaporean.”
— Huzir Sulaiman, playwright and Joint Artistic Director, Checkpoint Theatre
“These examinations of location and dislocation are rendered in such exquisite prose, and there is a devout dedication to evoking a sense of place in each of these narratives... this book is another milestone publication of an important Singaporean playwright, translator and fiction writer.”
— Pooja Makhijani, Notabilia
About the Author
Jeremy Tiang’s writing has appeared in The Guardian, Esquire (Singapore), Brooklyn Rail, Drunken Boat, Meanjin, Ambit, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore and the first two volumes of The Epigram Book of Best New Singaporean Short Stories.
He won the Golden Point Award in 2009 and has been shortlisted for the Iowa Review Award and American Short Fiction Prize. He has also translated more than ten books from the Chinese, including work by You Jin, Wong Yoon Wah, Yeng Pway Ngon, Yan Geling and Zhang Yueran, and has been awarded translation grants from PEN American Center, the National Endowment for the Arts (US) and the National Museum of Taiwanese Literature. Jeremy’s plays include The Last Days of Limehouse (Yellow Earth, London), Floating Bones (The Arts House; translations of Han Lao Da and Quah Sy Ren one-acts) and A Dream of Red Pavilions (Pan Asian Rep, NYC; adapted from the novel by Cao Xueqin).
He lives in New York City.
Size: 130 x 200mm
Published: September 2015