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Ponti

by Sharlene Teo

Three female voices narrate a story spanning several decades. The tale revolves around Amisa, a low-rate horror movie actress, her daughter Szu and Szu’s friend Circe. Teenage tension is juxtaposed with aging beauty, and the oppressive lives of each is mirrored by the sultry suffocating heat and pollution of Singapore. The boundaries between myth and reality are blurred at times so that I still had some unanswered questions by the story’s end.

Extract

She had a sore throat from arguing and her voice sounded monster-harsh. By the time I re-entered the house she had retreated into her bedroom again and shut the door. She didn’t even want to see me, she just wanted to make sure I was still there. I stared at the peeling wallpaper in the hall. We were marooned together, my mother and I, but for the first time in my life I felt truly alone. It was an aloneness that seemed greater and more grown-up than my body, even bigger than a country could hold.

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