Singapore Literature Review: Every Moving Thing that Lives Shall be Food


Calling all bookworms and fans of local literature! Shila Naidu reviews this exquisite anthology by Singaporean author and poet Grace Chia.

Short story lovers rejoice! One of Singapore’s most celebrated poets, Grace Chia, has collated a delectable selection of 14 sexy short stories to tease and flirt with your innermost thoughts and perceptions.

Entitled Every Moving Thing that Lives Shall be Food, the book explores the different “appetites” society exhibits in everyday life and human relationships. The stories that Grace Chia has chosen to tell us, do not contain complex plot developments, dozens of characters or settings that stretch our imaginations.

Instead, what makes her prose so riveting is her ability to put the mundane under a microscope and draw out specific details which speak volumes about her literary character’s innermost condition.

The stories are far from the stuff of fantasy. A woman goes to Bangkok on a shopping trip with girlfriends, only to learn that she would rather be alone in their hotel room. A spouse stuck in a lifeless marriage reads into the gifts from a German colleague, wondering if they mean something more.

A vegetarian tourist has his fill of exotic meat in a seedy massage parlour. A Singaporean living in Britain with her daughter and English husband, wonders what her child will call home and embrace as her identity.  A man struggles with the searing realisation of his wife’s infidelity before taking his life.

The main thread holding the book together is human relationships and interactions – a relevant choice in today’s highly connected but impersonal world. These themes of self-awareness, lust, displacement and hunger for more in this life are universal experiences for the human race.

Grace Chia artfully explores the choices and reactions of her characters on a personal level. She gives the reader insight into what motivates, scares and perplexes the character. The reader is led to understand and empathise instead of judge.

Verdict

Every Moving Thing that Lives Shall be Food is the perfect weekend read. It is light, reflective, and best of all, the stories are all independent of each other.

Personally, the book is a reminder to be more aware of the impact that my relationships have on my identity, worldview, pursuit of happiness and choices. It is also a wakeup call to be compassionate for we are all but hungry people.

Grab your copy here.


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1 Comment

  1. Hahaha, the stories are far from the stuff of fantasy. Why you said like that.

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