New Releases from Asia: September, 2019


Title:  The Heartsick Diaspora and Other Stories

Author:  Elaine Chiew

Publisher:  Penguin Random House SEA

Year of publication: 2019

Pages: 256

Price: SGD$22.90 (before GST)

Links :

About: Set in different cities around the world, Elaine Chiew’s award-winning stories travel into the heart of the Singaporean and Malaysian Chinese diasporas to explore the lives of those torn between cultures and juggling divided selves. In the title story, four writers find their cultural bonds of friendship tested when a handsome young Asian writer joins their group. In other stories, a brother searches for his sister forced to serve as a comfort woman during World War Two; three Singaporean sisters run a French gourmet restaurant in New York; a woman raps about being a Tiger Mother in Belgravia; and a filmmaker struggles to document the lives of samsui women—Singapore’s thrifty, hardworking construction workers.


an english write front cover

Title: An English Writer

Author: San Lin Tun

Publisher: Duwon Books

Year of publication: 2019

Pages: 216 pages

Price: 7, 500 MMK (local price), 10 USD (foreign price)

Links: Bookstores at Yangon

About: An English Writer is a story about a forgotten English poet/writer, C.J Richards (retired I.C.S) who lived and worked in Burma for over 35 years as an Indian Civil Servant. He retired in 1947 and settled in Swarraton, Hampshire in UK. Although he wrote seven books and many articles on Burma and UK, not many people know much of him and his life. The novel “An English Writer” explores the life of the English writer and defines his connection with both communities, Burma (Myanmar) and Britain as a poet and writer. The story, set in present Yangon, transports people back into the times of the English writer, C. J Richards, from 1920 to 1947 and then to 1976.


Title: Music To Flame Lilies

Author: Megha Rao

Publisher: Tara

Year of publication: 2019

Pages: 213

Price: 299

Links: Amazon

About: “I miss you.” When Noor gets a message from her best friend, months after her death, she cannot help but go back to her hometown in search of answers, and perhaps even her best friend. Noor isn’t prepared for the village that seems deeply rooted in magic where villagers pray to local ghosts, spend their evenings watching live possessions in the middle of a forest clearing, have innumerable stories of encounters with demons, or where she is told of people who are haunted to death. Then there’s Kalki, the boy from the wrong side of the tracks, the local black magician, who is always in her way. He may be trouble, but Noor knows he can help her unravel the mystery of her friend s death, or so she tells herself. Caught between magic and reality, Noor is increasingly drawn to the mysticism and drama of her hometown, even as dark forces gather and danger closes in on her. Will she be able to run away? Will she want to?



Title:  Secret Notes From Iran: Diary Of An Undercover Journalist

Author: Nadim Siraj

Publisher: Leadstart Publishing, India

Year of publication: 2019

Pages: 144

Price: Rs 199


About the book: Secret Notes From Iran is the first-person account of a journalist who travelled through Iran, disguised as a casual tourist, during the stormy US-Iran stand-off in the summer of 2017. The book features a critical geopolitical analysis of Iran’s position in the current world order. The reader is taken across the length and breadth of the country, and the iconic Iranian settings serve as venues of illuminating conversations with Iranian locals about their predicament. The book includes interviews with renowned political scientist Noam Chomsky, exiled Iranian women’s activist Masih Alinejad and prominent Iran expert Vijay Prashad.



Title: You Beneath Your Skin

Author: Damyanti Biswas

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Year of publication: 2019

Pages: 390 PP

Price: INR 399

Links: Amazon

 About: A psychiatrist finds herself at the centre of a crime spree in New Delhi where women are being found stuffed in trash bags with faces and bodies disfigured with acid. Damyanti weaves in a sordid world of poverty, misogyny, and political corruption in this brilliant crime novel, You Beneath Your Skin.


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One comment

  • Dr Syed Ahasan Siraj

    Thank u Kitaab for providing a platform for Asian writers to express themselves in the International arena.
    I have gone through the docu travelogue on Iran and held a literary seminar on Iran & Global Conflicts in Calcutta in August 19. It has been a grand success with eminent intellectuals from the city.
    A wonderful experience!

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