Monday, December 15, 2008


I went crazy last Friday at Kinokuniya and left with these 5 books:
Arvind Adiga - The White Tiger
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
Kazuo Ishiguro - The Remains Of The Day
Jonathan Safran Foer - Everything Is Illuminated
J.M. Coetzee - Slow Man

I am now reading the first book from the list, and so far it hasn't disappointed me. It's a controversial Man Booker Prize winner, so it should be a good read. Too bad I can't find Ian McEwan's Saturday.

On a related note, I have been quite disappointed with local writers so far. I've read highly acclaimed local books like Dina Zaman's I Am Muslim, Kam Raslan's Confessions Of An Old Boy and Andrew Leci's Once Removed, and truthfully none of them lived up to my expectations. Dina Zaman wrote well enough, but her books feels more like a blog than a book. I like only one anecdote from the whole book. Kam Raslan is a bit better, I thoroughly enjoyed most of it though the last third was a big letdown for me. Andrew leci, what can I say. He tried too hard to be funny, but it didn't work. He should just stick to writing columns on football instead.

But there are local writers that I truly love. Ever heard of Tamar Jalis? In case you were born after the 80s, you won't know about Variasari and the Siri Bercakap Dengan Jin written by the aforementioned. I have been looking for reprints for ages but haven't found it yet. The other day as I was snooping around for more info about it, I found my lifesaver. Someone apparently decided to scan and put up the soft copy version of the series online! If you are like me, a fan of the series, go ahead and pay this page a visit and get the details how to read those stories again.

Then there's also S. Othman Kelantan who wrote mostly about the Kelantanese rural life in books such as Juara (the basis for the movie Jogho by U-Wei, my favourite director)

I'm also looking for Hashim Yop's Korban Keretapi Maut, which basically tells the story of a young man forced to work on the Death Railway during the Japanese occupation of Malaya.

Tell me, which current local writer I should read next. There's too much hype flying around and seemingly any blogger can write a book these days. I want quality, a little help anyone?


aishah said...

I read Kam's book too. It was about the service, same service i'm in right now. Rasa macam a bit keterlaluan la anyway. Mengarut pun ada. Tapi itu cerita zaman dulu, apa2 pun boleh berlaku.

Tamar Jalis, selain bercakap dengan jin dalam Variasari, ada jugak buku2 cerita hantu yang dia tulis. Tapi masa kecil2 dulu, tak berminat nak baca siri tu. Sekarang pun still.

Anyway, good luck in finding the quality. Huhu. :)

ZubaidahArshad said...

The Banker,
Please have a visit to MPH Midvalley and ask for Shahnon Ahmad - Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan.

If you are not sobbing, then you have mental issues to deal with.

Such a heart wrenching story.

And please. A Spot Of Bother.

The Yoga Instructor said...

I don't know if you've heard of Datuk Abdullah Hussain and his masterpieces; to name one, Imam.

I don't know if bookstores still carry them though. The first time I read it, pinjam dari library STF masa Form 1, ha haa..

If you fail to find it,
I'd be more than happy to pinjamkan (although the copy I have MIGHT be the library copy :P).

Also that mentioned Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan kalau nak.

The Banker said...

aishah: he described the main antagonist perfectly, i can imagine him being a living breathing person - the brown-skinned brit that mckk used to churn out those days. hilarious! too bad the book cannot maintain the same level throughout though.

zubaidaharshad: since you are so adamant on me reading a spot of bother, i will get it the next time i go for looking for reading stock. must be a helluva book huh?

theyogainstructor: haha, i used to do that too! nick books from the school library since i cant be bothered to get a card. but i always returned them in the same condition though.

za&tyi: i'll look out for those 2 books, if i can't find em in the stores, then i'll get em from u ninie ;)

ZubaidahArshad said...

Errr The Banker,
I do not know if that book is your cup of tea, but I am so going to reread that again when I feel like.

Its not literary at all. Just how lovely Mark puts all emotions into a book.

A family love.

A good read for me.

And some say Mark Haddon is bloody genius with his witty writing style.

Do not blame me if you hate it :P

NoktahHitam said...

Tamar Jalis series are the only Malay novel I read, of course other than Permata yg Hilang. LoL

|1f34|-|1r3 said...

agreed..kam raslan's piece is quite entertaining..i have a copy of the book..tamar jalis sure brings back memories...bercakap ngan jin adalah buku yg aku baca untuk tido...hehe

Anonymous said...

hi uuuuu.. i wud recomend Ramlee awang murshid... best!!

The Banker said...

zubaidaharshad: i do know it is a critically acclaimed book, and it has been in my must buy list for a while now. just that everytime i go out to buy books, i always end up with other titles..hehe..and i love wit, even better if it's british. have you read tony parsons' man and boy? that's one of the best example around.

nh: ahahahahahha, the local version of karma sutra. aku baca kat bilik arin dulu2, aku dok bantai gelak je..

life4hire: now aku baca time bosan kat umah, sbb dh online..huhu

dqueen: really? perhaps i should try that too. have you read h.m. tuah's suangi series? that is good too.

Tamar said...

Mr Banker, I'm glad that you have found my blog. I hope you have registered as a fan of the group and enjoyed reading series that we have so far. Siri Bercakap Dengan Jin as far as I know is very hard to come by. The last print that I know of was in 2001 in mini pocket book form. It has then ceased to be printed and sold. At one time I took the journey to look for the office of Variasari Group in KL and spoke to someone who told me that they no longer print it and had no idea if the series will ever be reproduced. Upon digging further it was apparent that the unwillingness to reproduce the book is based on a ban by the authorities against stories and beliefs which are myths and may in some way be against our aqidah. Todate:
1. I have not known anyone who has the complete series.
2. No one knows how the series ended.
Anyhow, I am hoping that with the formation of the fan group many can come forward and contribute. Have fun with your books and reading and wasallam.

The Banker said...

tamar: yes, i'm a registered fan. just helping to spread the word, you know. too bad i don't have any to share though. good luck with the search!

lin said...