The Space Between The Raindrops is a compilation of short stories by local author, Justin Ker.
Let me just say right off the bat that I enjoyed this book. Like Amanda Lee Koe’s Ministry of Moral Panic, these stories are original and distinctively Singaporean. What I find intriguing is how this book managed to leave me with a lingering ache and a familiar longing for a memory that’s not even mine, and how these stories seamlessly flow with every turn of the page, each evoking a sense of contemplation and melancholy.
excerpt from ‘Revealed’
His style of writing is reflective and poetic. Like the title of the book, The Space Between The Raindrops is about lost, unspoken spaces between moments, thoughts, people. All of which are fleeting and ephemeral. All between a space in time that never repeats itself, echoing the deep-seated memories residing in our minds.
excerpt from ‘Bukit Gombak’
Justin has a way with looking at things from a striking perspective; one you’d never thought you’d be quite concerned with nor ponder about.
excerpt from ‘Unconscious’
As a medical doctor at the National Neuroscience Institute in Singapore, Justin draws out knowledge and experiences from his field, and weaves it into the stories’ themes of memory, and loss.
My favourite, also the one that stands out to me most, is the story titled ‘My Country is a Psychiatric Patient (Patient Notes Written on the 9th of August 2008)’. It imagines Singapore as a psychiatric patient, diagnosed with the crisis of self-identity (or lack thereof). This is one of the stories that would resonate well with every Singaporean, strangely startling and humoring us in a way that it is undeniably true. Among others which I really enjoyed are ‘Taipei 101′, ‘Portrait of a Girl, Reading’, ‘Unconscious’, ‘Unattainable Earth (Again)’, and ‘Revealed’.
Although each story may be brief, it is not short of its depth. Each one carries considerable weight and at times, poignancy. There are times when I let myself return to the start of the story and reread it, because I wanted to fully immerse myself and consume every bit of it again, slowly.
The characters in each story hold a certain wistfulness for the past, present, and future. You’ll meet the man who enters a perfume shop to find the scent that reminds him of his lost love, the thief who breaks into a lady’s HDB flat to steal some sleep on her bed, the two guys who fall in love with the same girl, the man with alzheimer’s disease and his wife who helped to recall new, fake memories to recreate a more ideal life.
Read or Not?
This compilation of flash fiction is a meditative read to enjoy while you’re commuting, having a break, or during rainy nights in.
You can get your own copy of this book at Epigrambooks’ online store, right here: