An interesting and racy novel, say Monideepa Sahu

Nazi Goreng 23Nazi Goreng by Marco Ferrarese (Monsoon books: Singapore), 2013; pp. 304

Marco Ferrarese’ exciting and engrossing novel explores racial animosity and urban crime. Steeped in local colour, this very Malaysian story has wider relevance in today’s world of the global village. Urban conglomerates the world over are rapidly becoming cultural melting pots. People are migrating to far corners of their country and abroad in search of a better job and life. This trend can heighten the insecurity of indigenous populations, who feel threatened as they perceive outsiders to be vying with them for finite resources and jobs. Urban crime and racial tensions are the inevitable result.

Foreigners migrate to Malaysia in search of a better life. Even educated people like Ngoc and her friends leave their home in Vietnam.   The math is simple but compelling. In a corporate office in Vietnam, Ngoc ‘s university degree in Economics will fetch her only half the pay that she earns as a waitress in Malaysia.  The author perceives Malaysia’s multi-racial and multicultural society as akin to the wholesome local dish, nasi goreng, which is a delicious mix of varied and nutritious ingredients. The book’s title is a play on this, and the racial bigotry which can ruin the beautiful cultural symphony.

Ferrarese_portrait_webMarco Ferrarese, who made his debut as novelist at this year’s Singapore Writers Festival with Nazi Goreng (Monsoon Books), is a former international punk rock guitarist, and now a freelance travel and culture writer based in South East Asia.

According to his publishers, Nazi Goreng is an intense Malaysian coming-of-age novel that stands alongside the works of Irvine Welsh and Chuck Palahniuk.

Nazi Goreng is fast-paced, entertaining and a fascinating insight into the vernacular of the streets of Malaysia. It is “purely fictional, albeit based on real events that occurred in Malaysia in the past few years,” says Ferrarese. “I wanted to make people reflect about their condition, their racist views, and the shit stains at the crack of their own asses. I couldn’t just keep it all inside of me any longer.”

Kitaab interviewed the author a little while before the book launch.

From a rock guitarist to a travel writer and now a novelist based in Malaysia. How did that journey happen for you? Did you always want to be a novelist?

Well, it’s been a long journey that requires a long explanation: I started reading fantasy and horror fiction when I was pretty young. Lovecraft, Howard, King, Barker, Dick, Asimov etc. I was lucky as my mother believed books were  important tools for education, although she didn’t approve my penchant for the supernatural and the horror.  Yes, I knew I would have written fantastic books: my first attempts at writing are prehistory. I believe that a couple notebooks filled with my terribly undulating 10 years old handwriting still lay somewhere at my parents’ house in Italy. A pointless supernatural story, set in the USA, trying to clone Stephen King.