Fragile Monsters by Catherine Menon is an impressive debut. This multi-generational family drama is set in Malaysia between WW2 and the present day.
Durga returns to Malaysia from Canada to restart her life as an academic. While visiting her grouchy grandmother a series of events trigger the unwinding of the mystery surrounding Durga’s mother, the war years and family secrets. The plot switches between pre-war Malaya under British rule and the war years, the post-war reconstruction and modern day denial.
I enjoyed Fragile Monsters, I knew nothing about the process of Malaya becoming Malaysia so I can’t vouch for it’s historical accuracy. The intergenerational interplay between Durga and her grandmother is handled very well and there s a compelling pace to the novel that builds to an effective ending.
Well worth a read