A woman of a certain age who has three cats underfoot, and has the dream of filling her passport with stamps. Books, classical music, tea, cats, movies, art, fancy needlework, and anything else I can think of.
As I continue my way around the world in books, this one caught my eye not just because of the locale -- Malaysia -- but also for the use of folktales. Set in the Straits Chinese communities of Malaysia, The Ghost Bride tells a story of a custom that many of us haven't an inkling of here in the States.
I loved this one. A novel that can combine elements of folk-tales and a very real delimna always can get my attention. Ms. Choo managed to reveal a great deal of how the Chinese view the afterlife, and the elaborate customs and traditions, such as hell-money, the puppet servants and demons that inhabit the afterlife, and the rather mysterious Er Lang, who appears to be Li Lan's ally and helper -- but is he really?
The writing is inventive and flows nicely, with plenty of rich descriptions, but never going into the overdone. I'm not quite certain if this is for the young-adult market, but I'm glad that the author never let Li Lan become mawkish or too knowledgable -- Li Lan is certainly a sheltered young girl, but never stupid.
Besides the story itself, there are afterwords on the Malaya Straits Chinese, ghost marriages, Chinese and Malay spelling, names and dialects. Too, the novel does end abruptly, and I suspect that there might be a sequel. In any case, I enjoyed this one a great deal, and I will be keeping my eyes open for future releases from this author.
Four stars overall, and recommended.
For the long review, please go here: