Book Review

The Near and the Far, Vol. 2 — ed. David Carlin and Francesca Rendle-Short⁣⁣ (2019)

“In short, to survive a heartbreak a young poet only needs: (1) A dazzling dress/shirt, no need to be new, (2) a piece of premium tissue, (3) a pair of undented running shoes, (4) a novel by an author with a visibly long name, (5) an empty instant noodles cardboard box, (6) the album Blue by Joni Mitchell, and (7) a book that is undeterred by the confusing rules of Indonesian spelling because it is written in a foreign language, say, Finnish.” ⁣⁣

— Norman Erikson Pasaribu

This book is a compilation of short stories, poems, and essays by a selection of Asia-Pacific’s most talented writers, including from Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, and Australia, all of whom were part of the WrICE (Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange) residency program. ⁣⁣
While I personally think that not all the writings were on the same “level” — some were rather dry for me — it’s still great to read such a rich, cross-cultural collection of writings.

However even after reading the whole thing, I still loved the Indonesian ones the most (🇮🇩 represent!); my favourite being Norman’s ‘A Heartbreak Survival Kit for Young Poets’ (am I biased because he’s my friend? I think not!! 😂).

My rating: 3.5/5.⁣⁣

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