Rachel Heng | Paperback | March 2023
Set against a changing Singapore, a sweeping novel about one boy's unique gifts and the childhood love that will complicate the fate of his community and country
'Extraordinary . . . Every page pulses with mud and magic'
Miranda Cowley Heller, author of The Paper Palace
'Alive to the beauty and mystery of the natural world as well as the human heart'
Jessamine Chan, author of The School for Good Mothers
'What a marvellous novel'
Megha Majumdar, author of A Burning
'An intimate love story and an epic historical tale that is sure to be read for years to come'
Julie Otsuka, author of The Buddha in the Attic
'Ah Boon's story will stay with me for a long time'
Lara Prescott, author of The Secrets We Kept
On a quiet moonlit night, Ah Boon, young and terrified, takes his first trip out to sea in his father's fishing boat - a rite of passage for the boys of the kampong. As the air hums and the wind howls across the waves, a mysterious, impossible island materialises in the darkness; an island, bountiful with fish, that Ah Boon soon learns only he has the ability to find.
But this is only the beginning of the story, and as Ah Boon grows up, alongside Siok Mei, the spirited girl he has fallen in love with, he finds himself caught in the tragic sweep of Singapore's history. When the Japanese army invades, the resistance rises, and their small nation hurtles towards rebirth, the kampong and the impossible islands that surround it are thrown into jeopardy, and the two friends must decide who they will become - and what they are willing to give up.