Longlisted for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize 2020
In post-independence Singapore, tradition clashes with modernity in this compelling tale of the importance of defining one’s own story.
When their father Sujakon comes home late one night, raving about bad people coming to take them away, siblings Zuzu and Hakeem are forced to leave everything behind and live in a tent at Changi Beach, with a secret community called Anak Bumi—the Children of the Earth. Here, they learn to live off the land and fend for themselves, and partake in a communal storytelling ritual under the stars called the Wayang Singa. But just as they’ve acclimatised to their new lives, their father disappears without a word and a strange man washes ashore warning of mortal danger from just offshore.