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Blood on the Banana Leaf

A novel that will bring you to the dark heart of Singapore's maid culture by Tabatha Stirling

  • https://unbound.com/books/blood-on-the-banana-leaf

The Synopsis

'Tabatha Stirling’s brilliantly achieved first novel, Blood on the Banana Leaf, explores the relationships between maids and their employers in Singapore, exposing deeply unsettling truths about what goes on behind the glossy surface of that society. Told in the superbly nuanced voices of four very different female characters, it’s a great read; tense, vivid and involving, both heart-breaking and heart-warming. Tabatha is a talented, brave and accomplished writer and I do hope her novel gains the recognition and success it deserves.'
Lesley Glaister is the critically acclaimed author of thirteen novels and the winner of the Jerwood Prize for Fiction 2014 for her novel, Little Egypt.

Welcome to the black heart of Singapore’s maid culture, where a woman’s life is cheap in one of the richest countries in the world.

Here are the voices of the unheard, of maid and employer, of village girl and city dweller. Follow Lucilla, Ma’am Leslie, Shammi and Madame Eunice as they strive, each in her own way, to exist in a country in which dark shadows lie beneath its pristine exterior.

The lives of these women are woven together by a narrative which is always candid and often brutal, as it explores the effects of loss, madness, abuse and hope during a woman's life and in society as a whole.

The Excerpt

SHAMMI

20 Sabre Green

When I came to Singapore, it was with such happiness in my heart. I knew I was doing a good thing, making my parents proud. The girls that go to Singapore and Arabia are spoken of with reverence and as good, dutiful girls.

Sawtoh, the skinny girl from my village, she married a Western man and now they live in Singapore in a palace with beautiful children and swans. I hear her bed is made from gold and she has many servants. I wish her luck but I never like her much. She was cruel to animals and the younger children. Would pull pigtails and tear clothes and kick the dogs around the village when the mood took her. My Ebu says the devil is inside her mouth.

I don’t disagree with Ebu but I think that she is just very selfish. Most of the girls who marry Western men are cunning but until they have a ring on their finger – they play it very sweet like Bubur Candil. Sawtoh must have been kicking many puppies in private to be able to mask her real self. I feel sorry for that Western Man. He went to the market and bought a duck but it turned out to be a fire ant.

It is very dark here at my Madame’s house. I am expected to wash the car before the family wakes up. As I stumble out with sleep still in my eyes and weary bones that sigh I see the other black shapes washing other cars. We might smile and nod but we never call out. The maids that wash cars know better than that. We are divided between the maids that speak and the maids that do not.

Read more...

The Author

I am proud to live in Edinburgh, Scotland with my Warrior-Poet husband, two beloved children and a depressed Beagle, called The Beagle.

We have come back to live Scotland after six years abroad in Singapore and Germany. I am a bit of a nomad so it feels a little odd settling in again.

I was never any good at 9-5 and a hopeless secretary so I’ve had many jobs, including working the door at London clubs, cupcake baker, cycle courier and a counsellor. I always wanted to work for MI5 but failed the critical thinking test.

In September. I start my Mlitt in Creative Writing at Glasgow University, which is very exciting, and I look forward to being back at Uni, albeit part time.

When I’m not writing or baking cupcakes, I am thinking about writing, reading, designing book covers, gaming or watching dark, blood-splattered dramas like the Walking Dead, Ray Donavon and Sons of Anarchy. I am totally prepared for a zombie apocalypse!

The Rewards

All supporters get their name printed in every edition of the book. All levels include immediate access to the author's shed.

$20
Digital
Ebook and your name in the back of the book.
📖 Pledge $20 73 pledges
$40
Paperback
A first edition of the paperback plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book.
📖 Pledge $40 34 pledges
$75
Patron
Your name listed in the front of the book on a special Patron page, plus a first edition of the hardback plus the ebook
📖 Pledge $75 22 pledges
$125
Personalised Poem
A personalised, original poem written for you by the author. Plus your name listed in the front of the book on a special Patron page, plus a first edition of the hardback and a copy of the ebook.
Only 10 available.
📖 Pledge $125 4 pledges
$190
Talk
A bookclub, library or school visit and talk by the author either in Edinburgh or London. Plus five signed first editions of the paperback plus the ebook and five names in the back of the book.
Only 3 available
📖 Pledge $190 1 pledge
$375
Super Patron
Appear as a central character in a short story of 1000 words or more by the author in a genre of your choice. Plus your name listed in the front of the book on a special Patron page, plus a first edition of the hardback and a copy of the ebook.
Only 3 available.
Sold out
$440
Name a Character and Lunch
Name a character in the book after you or a loved one, and have lunch with the author (London or Edinburgh). Plus your name listed in the front of the book on a special Patron page, plus a first edition of the hardback and a copy of the ebook.
Only 2 available.
$1,250
Grand Patron
A personally dedicated frontispiece printed in the book, lunch with the author, a personalised poem written by the author, 2 signed first edition paperbacks.
Only 1 available.
Sold out