Tan Hwee Hwee | Foreign Bodies - Hwee Hwee Tan
Mei, a young Singaporean lawyer, is woken by a call from her English boyfriend, Andy. It's one in the morning and 'I'm in jail' are definitely not the kind of words that put a girl in a good mood.
Foreign bodies, Hwee Hwee Tan, eBook
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Foreign Bodies


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‘We all have stories buried in our past … these are our real stories, the stories only we know, the stories of our foreign bodies …’

Mei, a young Singaporean lawyer, is woken by a call from her English boyfriend, Andy. It’s one in the morning and ‘I’m in jail’ are definitely not the kind of words that put a girl in a good mood. Working as a relief teacher, and in Singapore because of his best friend Eugene, Andy has been arrested for masterminding a multi-million dollar international soccer gambling syndicate. He swears he’s been framed, and this leaves Mei and Eugene, friends through childhood, only two weeks to prove his innocence.

Switching from East to West, from past to present and from one voice to another with incisive dexterity and wit, this stylish novel unravels three quite different stories – of abuse and betrayal; of murder and lies; and the search for a greater truth behind the lager sagas of Freshers and other twenty-nothings.

These diverse stories of expatriates, hungry ghosts and UEFA Cup matches collide in a startling fashion. Now the three friends have to confront their disturbing histories. Should they reveal their secrets to one another? Will the truth set Andy free, or will the unveiling of their past only serve to destroy their future?

A dazzling fusion of Western pop culture, Christian mysticism and Taoist rituals, Foreign Bodies is a brilliantly multi-layered and decidedly humorous debut.

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“A milestone….Foreign Bodies, a fictional exploration of child abuse, is the first Singaporean novel to win critical acclaim in the Britain and the US”
— The Wall Street Journal, front page

“Tan spins out a gripping story while cleverly alternating narrators… her prose resembles that of British writers like Helen Fielding and Nick Hornby…. a promising, original debut”
— Anderson Tepper, New York Times Book Review

“Tan’s lucid and wide-ranging first novel is a memorable portrait of disenchanted youth, a narrative that gains indelible resonance as the plot unfolds… This seductive novel moves with furious grace to a transcendent conclusion.”
— Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

“If Flannery O’Connor had written the screenplay for Midnight Express, it might have turned out somewhat like this startling and remarkable debut novel…Witty, hip, engrossing and utterly astonishing both in breadth of feeling and depth of intelligence: one of the strangest and most original works of the year.”
— Kirkus, starred review

“No one who reads Tan’s debut will accuse her of shying away from the big topics: incest, murder, justice, loyalty, even varieties of religious experience are explored… Fortunately, she counters the gravity with humor throughout. The wisecracks, language, and subject matter will especially appeal.”
— Booklist

“Wonderfully unique… Fast-paced and totally unpretentious. A completely absorbing first novel.”
— Library Journal

“A worthwhile read.”
— A magazine

“Tan makes us care about these precocious, clueless border-crossers.”
— Los Angeles Times Book Review

“A smart and challenging book… An exciting addition to trans-cultural literature.”
— Edwidge Danticat, author of Breath, Eyes, Memory and Farming the Bones

“Hwee Hwee Tan is a child genius and a Nobel Laureate in embryo.”
— Larry Beinhart, author of American Hero (filmed as Wag the Dog)

“An extraordinary novel… the voices are lightning fast and sharply observant. This makes their story a great pleasure to read.”
— Chuck Wachtel, author of Joe the Engineer and The Gates

“A novel of distinction…almost indecently accomplished for a twenty-three-year-old.”
— The Economist

“Fast-paced, streetwise… Tan’s good ear for the spoken word is everywhere apparent… What is impressive, especially in so young a writer, is Tan’s assurance and her seriousness.”
— The Independent

“Smart, stylish stuff.”
— The Guardian

“A tour-de-force.”
— Sunday Times

“Tan is not yet 25, which makes this polished debut all the more impressive… Tan is a young writer to watch.”
— The Daily Telegraph

“Foreign Bodies explores serious themes with an enviable lightness of touch. Hwee Hwee Tan has made a witty, confident, not to mention brave debut.”
— Literary Review

“Her first novel bounces off the page like popping corn. Foreign Bodies is a lively, cross-cultural take on the Lion City through the eyes of three twentysomethings… She switches from one identity to another with ease, assembling in the process no small critique on the nature of being foreign.”
— Asiaweek – Best Books of 1999


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