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We, the survivors de Tash Aw
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We, the survivors (2019 original; edició 2019)

de Tash Aw

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864244,793 (3.67)16
A murderer's confession - devastating, unblinking, poignant, unforgettable - which reveals a story of class, education and the inescapable workings of destiny. Ah Hock is an ordinary, uneducated man born in a Malaysian fishing village and now trying to make his way in a country that promises riches and security to everyone, but delivers them only to a chosen few. With Asian society changing around him, like many he remains trapped in a world of poorly paid jobs that just about allow him to keep his head above water but ultimately lead him to murder a migrant worker from Bangladesh. In the tradition of Camus and Houellebecq, Ah Hock's vivid and compelling description of the years building up to this appalling act of violence - told over several days to a local journalist whose life has taken a different course - is a portrait of an outsider like no other, an anti-nostalgic view of human life and the ravages of hope. It is the work of a writer at the peak of his powers.… (més)
Membre:Matacabras
Títol:We, the survivors
Autors:Tash Aw
Informació:London : Fourth Estate, 2019.
Col·leccions:Reading challenge 2021, La teva biblioteca, Per llegir
Valoració:
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

Detalls de l'obra

We, The Survivors de Tash Aw (2019)

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» Mira també 16 mencions

Es mostren totes 4
This is laid out as a man telling his story to a woman researcher some years after the events told. The chapters of his story are interspersed with short pieces of the two of them in the present. It works as a device, in that it brings you back to the current and constrasts with the past. The narrator was imprisioned for murder and this is his life story to that point. He tells of life growing up as a chinese origin living in Malaysia. They are barely scratching a living and the impact of factory on the village's fishing has a significant role to play in his life. In fact the role of the world beyond the village is surprisingly evident. He talks of imigrants comming from elsewhere to work, and contrasts their position with that of his village, where they are squeezed between the low paying jobs and those using the illegal imigrants as cheap labour.
It is all told with a complete lack of self pity, all very mattter of fact. He tries to tease out the roots of the events and where there were turning points. At one point he does say that seeing options and being able to take them are two different things.
It's quite a bare life, in one sense, but at the same time, the teller never sounds as if he regrets his life. There is a sense of inevitability in the events, as told, that seems to be fated. And yet there are points at which the ending could have changed, but is that the benefit of hindsight or was there ever a point when things could change.
Thought provoking without being lecturing, it certainly makes you think about the impact of global events in small places. It's not clear who the survivors of the title might be. ( )
  Helenliz | Feb 22, 2021 |
I lived in Malaysia for three and a half years, a quarter century ago, but the main character is almost a type of the struggling poor ethnic Chinese. I admire much about this novel, but found I didn't like reading it although Aw's writing and characterization carried me along like one of the flood tides he mentions. I relished many of the details of Malaysian life but found I couldn't connect with the woman who records the protagonist's story; she seemed to me like a necessary distraction, a youthful child of privilege to contrast with his impoverished childhood and youth. Maybe there is just too much truth in this novel for me to enjoy reading it. ( )
  nmele | Sep 9, 2020 |
Beautifully characterised, riveting book about class struggles, racism and thwarted ambitions in contemporary Malaysia. ( )
  boredgames | Nov 11, 2019 |
‘But the truth is that there is no because. And because there is no because, there is also no why.’

Tash Aw’s new novel is about the choices we make, those little decisions that come to direct the path of our lives, leading us to question everything. It is about the illusion of such a choice, as our central character frequently comes to the conclusion that our fate is destined, that actually we are simply just part of some messed-up plan and the best we can do is survive.

Lee Hock Lye, known as Ah Hock, has killed a man. Spending 3 years in prison he is now living a quiet, secluded life until an American research student named Tan Su-Min gets in touch asking to interview him. He agrees, and what we have in the book is a series of meetings and conversations wherein Ah Hock tells his story, from his childhood, marriage and work, until the moment he killed someone: ‘You want me to talk about life, but all I’ve talked about is failure, as if they’re the same thing.’ Hock is a Chinese-Malay, and he moves from his rural childhood surroundings to the bustle of Kuala Lumpur and back again, his life intersecting with his childhood friend Keong. This is a story of family and friendship, but with some big issues crowding in: illegal immigrants and forced labour; the economics of big business and modernisation; globalisation and the widening gulf between the rich and poor. As Hock tells his story we also get to know more about his interviewer, a ‘militant queer’ (as she calls herself towards the end) whose personal life is falling apart. The relationship between the two develops into a friendship, and their interaction is a nice counterbalance to those relationships in Hock’s previous life, with his (now) ex-wife Jenny and with Keong.

Reminiscent of Camus’ ‘L’Etranger’ or, more recently, Tanguy Viel’s ‘Article 353’, this is a philosophical, nay existential, examination of a human being, and of the consequences of his actions. Timely, also, in its portrayal of the Asian economic boom and the darker side of capitalism’s headlong rush to the future. Above all it is a personal story of one man, caught in circumstances from which he cannot escape: ‘We believe in life’s power to iron out the kinks in our existence and make things turn out OK.’

A subtle, powerful novel by the very talented Tash Aw, one which I liked, yes, but one which leaves an after-impression long afterwards, and which will make you think – always a good thing. A highly recommended 4 stars. ( )
  Alan.M | Apr 19, 2019 |
Es mostren totes 4
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You want to talk to me about life, but all I’ve talked about is failure, as if they’re the same thing, or at least so closely entwined that I can’t separate the two - like the trees you see growing in the half-ruined buildings in the Old Town.
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No n'hi ha cap

A murderer's confession - devastating, unblinking, poignant, unforgettable - which reveals a story of class, education and the inescapable workings of destiny. Ah Hock is an ordinary, uneducated man born in a Malaysian fishing village and now trying to make his way in a country that promises riches and security to everyone, but delivers them only to a chosen few. With Asian society changing around him, like many he remains trapped in a world of poorly paid jobs that just about allow him to keep his head above water but ultimately lead him to murder a migrant worker from Bangladesh. In the tradition of Camus and Houellebecq, Ah Hock's vivid and compelling description of the years building up to this appalling act of violence - told over several days to a local journalist whose life has taken a different course - is a portrait of an outsider like no other, an anti-nostalgic view of human life and the ravages of hope. It is the work of a writer at the peak of his powers.

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