Hailed as “the definitive Singaporean novel”, this new edition of Heartland is accompanied by a new preface by author Daren Shiau and a publisher’s foreword that contextualises the novel’s imprint on the Singapore literary landscape since its first publication in 1999.
An iconic work, Heartland explores the paradox of rootedness and rootlessness in fast-changing Singapore. Set in the early 1990s, the novel follows the years of Wing Seng as he leaves school and is conscripted into full-time National Service. As Wing tries to reconcile his past with his future amid transitions through different phases of life, he finds meaning in his intense attachment to his surrounding landscape. Yet, as relationships and the years slip by, Wing is forced to question his own certainties and the wisdom of the people he values.
Set in Singapore’s heartland at the turn of the century, Heartland’s capturing of the texture of everyday life provides the backdrop essential to the bildungsroman’s exploration of identity, belonging and connection in an increasingly urbanised Singapore.
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