Floating Petals by Leela Devi Panikar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Floating Petals is an eclectic mix of short stories. Shifting from slice-of-life to horror, to the almost fantastical, you're never quite sure what you'll be getting next. Despite its dreamlike title, Floating Petals isn't quite a happy book: the 14 stories contained here mostly touch on dark themes, whether its the cruelty of bound feet, unhappy marriages, murder, or death.
Actually, death features quite a lot.
Leela's prose is tight, economical. There's a strong sense of place, whether the story wanders through Hong Kong (where she first published this book) or Malaysia (where she grew up), in the city or out in rural farmlands. Having lived in various countries, she scatters her prose with Cantonese phrases, Indian terms and Malaysian sensibilities, making it a wonderful window into life on this side of the world.
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