Posted by: Lisa Hill | July 28, 2020

Revenge, Murder in Three Parts, by S. L. Lim

Revenge, Murder in Three Parts, is author S.L. Lim’s follow-up to her debut novel, Real Differences, (which won the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, and which I reviewed here).  Revenge is a very dark novel indeed.

The central character, Yannie, spends a good deal of her life nursing resentments from family life which favours the male, and when she gets the opportunity to ‘overcome the monster’ she doesn’t hesitate.  The novel debunks the stereotype of Asian family unity, and reinforces the preconception that Asian males are favoured.  Along the way the reader recognises that progress in acceptance of  gay relationships has a long way to go in Singapore.

The third person limited narration means that the reader knows only Yannie’s perspective.  The story begins with the narrator describing the physical abuse that her brother Shan dishes out, and her parents’ refusal to do anything about it.  (It’s more than just sibling rough-and-tumble, much more).  Yannie’s gender means that she is not only expected to endure her parents’ favouritism, but also to defer to their decisions that lead to him having a great career while she has to give up ambitions for further study and has to work in their shop.  He gets to go to Oxford, she stays with her parents and takes responsibility for supporting them until they die.  It’s an old story, and still common to many women around the world, and it still happens sometimes, even in liberal western societies that have embraced women’s rights.

Yannie’s unhappiness is exacerbated by her inability to form supportive relationships.  There are a number of reasons for this, but the most difficult one to resolve is that she is not interested in the attentions of a young man called Jun… but can’t have a satisfying gay relationship either.  Shuying, who is the love of Yannie’s life, opts for traditional marriage with husband and children instead.  Loneliness, a mundane job, lack of money and nursing her grievances make it impossible for Yannie to have a satisfying life.

Well, as the title implies, she gets her chance at vengeance… and she exploits the bonds of family to achieve it.

An audio book will be released at the same time as the book  on September 1st  by Wavesound.

Author: S.L. Lim
Title: Revenge, Murder in Three Parts
Cover image by Piyapong Sayduang, cover and book design by Peter Lo
Publisher: Transit Lounge, 2020
ISBN: 9781925760583, pbk., 236 pages
Review copy courtesy of Transit Lounge

 


Responses

  1. This looks like another one for me, Lisa. You’ve done it again ;-) Thank you.

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  2. This scenario could easily be set in many other Asian countries or in the Middle East, where similar attitudes prevail towards women.

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  3. I hope she gets her revenge, and enjoys it. I’ll look out for the audiobook.

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  4. Sounds fascinating, Lisa. I think sometimes a violent revenge becomes the only option when all else fails…

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  5. *chuckle* Gosh, what a murderous lot you are! So much for my belief that readers are nice, gentle people full of compassion and love for their fellow man!!

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  6. Maybe not so different in Europe today, either – better than in the past, but there’s still much favouring of the male in families. I’d like to add that I don’t necessarily endorse murderous vengefulness (but it might depend on the victim)

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