The Last Lesson of Mrs de Souza
One last time and on her birthday, Rose de Souza is returning to school to give a final lesson to her classroom of secondary school boys before retiring from her long teaching career. What ensues is an unexpected confession in which she recounts the tragic and traumatic story of Amir, a student from her past who overturned the way she saw herself as a teacher, and changed her life forever. The stunning first novel from award-winning poet Cyril Wong, The Last Lesson of Mrs de Souza is a tour de force, an exceptional examination of the power of choice and the unreliability of memory.
“The novel calls for a change in the ways we think of freedom, individual merit, feelings, emotional relationships, and above all, personal identity. It also questions the devastating importance given to economic success and global relevance in contemporary times, and by such questioning, implies the need for a sincere peek at what makes human beings a cohesive warm-hearted community.”
—Uma Jayaraman, Asiatic
“Cyril Wong is proving himself to be a prose stylist of a calibre that threatens to outdo his poetry, with words so poignant and heartfelt, and a narrative drive that’s often direct and bold yet breathtaking in its fragile beauty.”
—Gerrie Lim, author of Inside the Outsider
“Wong pulls the rug from under us but leaves us still standing, albeit transported…to a new vantage point and offered a different perspective.”
—Dr K. K. Seet
“Wong writes profoundly…on what he senses as being the real challenge for most of us…to make meanings of our discontinuous worlds.”
—Kirpal Singh, Kunapipi: Journal of Postcolonial Writing & Culture
“Cyril…sculpts a space for the reader to think, baffle over and be elated.”
—The Business Times
“[A] talented writer who can write whatever he wants, with daring and originality.”
—O Thiam Chin, The Jakarta Post
“Wong tries to provoke a different perspective on life, tackling how people accept its so-called truths and established principles.”
“A truly soul-searching read.”
“I couldn’t help but feel an Ishiguro-vibe throughout... A solid novelistic debut from Wong.”
—Stephen Sohn, Asian American Literature Fans
About the Author
Cyril Wong is the Singapore Literature Prize-winning author of poetry collections such as Unmarked Treasure, Tilting Our Plates to Catch the Light and Satori Blues, as well as a collection of strange short fables called Let Me Tell You Something About That Night. He has served as a mentor under the Creative Arts Programme and the Mentor Access Project, as well as a judge for the Golden Point Awards in Singapore. A past recipient of the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award for Literature, he completed his doctoral degree in English Literature at the National University of Singapore in 2012. His collection of short stories, Ten Things My Father Never Taught Me and Other Stories, was published by Epigram Books in 2014.
Size: 130 x 200mm
Published: October 2013
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