Singular Acts of Endearment is an enticing book, full of humour and fascinating trivia as well as profound and thought-provoking ideas. A multi-layered book that will stay with the reader long after the final page, says Mandy Pannett in this review.
‘Life is a series of happenings’ says Jasmine whose journal entries and notes provide the story lines for this novel. She repeats this statement several times until the very end (more on this later) and it provides a perfect basis for the anecdotal style of writing which Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé uses with such apparent ease together with a lightness of touch juxtaposed with moments that are both poignant and profound.
The actual narrative is incidental to a wider range of themes and topics. Jaz, together with some friends and family members, takes it on herself to care for Ah Gong who is dying of cancer and whose only consolation seems to lie in visiting gardens and devising plans for making a small one of his own. Against this backcloth of dying and death the author touches on ideas about friendships, relationships, the passing of adolescence, the significance or otherwise of memory and the past, the whole point of life with its series of happenings and the attempt to make sense of fragments.