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From the award-winning author of Five Star Billionaire and We, the Survivors comes a whirlwind personal history of modern Asia, as told through his Malaysian and Chinese heritage.
In Strangers on a Pier, acclaimed author Tash Aw explores the panoramic cultural vitality of modern Asia through his own complicated family story of migration and adaptation, which is reflected in his own face. From a taxi ride in present-day Bangkok, to eating Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1980s Kuala Lumpur, to his grandfathers' treacherous boat journeys to Malaysia from mainland China in the 1920s, Aw weaves together stories of insiders and outsiders, images from rural villages to megacity night clubs and voices in a dizzying variety of languages, dialects and slangs, to create an intricate and astoundingly vivid portrait of a place caught between the fast-approaching future and a past that won't let go.
"Strangers on a Pier offer a unique and thought-provoking perspective of a life lived out in interesting times, places and circumstances." (Carl Logan, Midwest Book Review)
"If we are lucky we will find writing that grips us with its vitality, beauty and significance - Strangers on a Pier is like that." (Deborah Levy)
"Aw always writes well, but this small volume is particularly lyrical. The extended essay format suits him: long enough for some structure - the chronology is not linear, and he bounces from story to social commentary to introspection - and to explore issues in depth, while short enough for immediacy. He covers a tremendous amount of ground.... Strangers on a Pier is a wealth of pithy observation." (Peter Gordon, Asian Review of Books)