This edition of Lightless reprints together two collections of short fiction by Ng Kim Chew, one of Malaysia’s best-known authors. Lightless and Dreams, Pigs, and Dawn, originally published independently in 1994 and 1997, are brought together into a single volume containing the best work of a crucial voice from the international Sinophone world.
After years of studying classical Chinese literature at university, which he described as “shuffling through the remains of a dead culture inside an abandoned tomb,” Ng filled his stories with vivid scenes of contemporary Malaysia–forests of rubber trees, dark nights in the countryside, urgent dreams of human desire. These works, energized by stylistic experimentation and the anxieties of ethnic identity, set the Malaysian literary world on fire when they first appeared. And while the author, looking back twenty years later, has expressed dissatisfaction with his own writing, readers from both within and outside Chinese and Malaysian writing traditions will be deliciously surprised.
Stories like “M’s Disappearance,” “Death in the South,” and “A Sick Young Girl” transport the reader to a Malaysian homeland of Ng’s experience and imagination, where difficult dramas of tragedy, intrigue, and even farce are enacted.