11/27/2017 2:53:03 PM
|written By : Team India Se|
“Writers experience many lives in one. From their desk, they can travel the world, or go backwards and forwards in time,” wrote Meira Chand once, describing “the writing life”. Born and educated in London, with an Indian father and a Swiss mother, she lived in Japan and India before relocating to Singapore in 1997. She became a Singapore citizen in 2011, one year after she came out with A Different Sky, one of the finest novels about colonial Singapore. Depicting life in Singapore from the late 1920s through the Japanese occupation till the communist agitations in the 1950s, A Different Sky is even more panoramic in its sweep than The Singapore Grip by JG Farrell, who won the Booker Prize for his novel set during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, The Siege of Krishnapur.
Hailed as “a panoramic page-turner with engrossing detail”, A Different Sky now has a companion in Sacred Waters, Meira Chand’s new novel, published by Marshall Cavendish. Launched at a well-attended party at the Arts House in Singapore on November 24, Sacred Waters, appearing seven years after A Different Sky, is also partially set in the Second World War, like the previous novel. This is the story of Sita, who comes from India to Singapore, joins the Rani of Jhansi regiment of women soldiers in the Indian National Army raised by Netaji Chandra Bose during the Second World War to fight against the British for Indian independence, and her daughter, Amita, an academic at the National University of Singapore. The novel travels back and forth in time, from colonial India to wartime Singapore, and Singapore now, in the 21st century. Richly layered and beautifully evocative, Sacred Waters is a compelling story of two women bound to rivet readers interested in the colonial history of India and Singapore.
Singapore’s Ambassador-at-large Chan Heng Chee, who was the guest-of-honour at the book launch, recalled how Meira Chand was encouraged to write A Different Sky by Singapore’s late President SR Nathan, and how she was kept awake at night as she read Sacred Waters. It is a "page-turner", as Prof Chan said – unputdownable, to the neat, final twist.