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“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? …we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”

— Franz Kafka

Reviews on Asian Literature

We, the Survivors by Tash Aw

We, the Survivors by Tash Aw is a poignant story of a middle-class Malaysian man named Ah Hock released from prison recently after serving the time for murdering a Bangladeshi migrant worker. Su-Min who had been doing research for her studies in America returned to Malaysia and interviewed Ah Hock about his life which later…

The Hunter’s Walk by Nabeel Ismeer

The Hunter’s Walk by Nabeel Ismeer is a coming of age story but a prehistoric one about a fictional tribe named Zardan. It’s a story of two boys—Ghar, a dark skin boy and Dun, his fair skin brother. Focusing on colourism and climate change, the story evolved around the adventurous journey of the cave boys…

Hidden World, Hidden Literature

Hidden Words, Hidden worlds is an anthology of contemporary short stories from Myanmar published by the British Council in 2017.

Heaven by Mieko Kawakami

Set in the early 90’s, Heaven was narrated by a 14-year-old, unnamed protagonist with a lazy eye. He was frequently bullied by a group of boys at school. At the beginning of the novel, he received a note that said we should be friends.