book review: We, the Survivors by Tash Aw | BookBrowse



FSG, September 2019


We, The Survivors tells the story of Ah Hock, a Malaysian man recently released from prison where he served time for murdering a Bangladeshi migrant worker. This poignant, quietly moving story is not a mystery or thriller: the identity of the victim and the circumstances of the crime are established early on. Instead, Tash Aw uses this novel to create a bleak and textured portrait of working-class Malaysia.

You can read the rest of my review HERE on BookBrowse, and you can read a piece I wrote about Bangladeshi migrant workers in Malaysia HERE.

You can pick up a copy of We, the Survivors here on Book Depository.

7 thoughts on “book review: We, the Survivors by Tash Aw | BookBrowse

  1. As an oral historian, the framing narrative sounds fascinating (and slightly reminiscient of Misha Berlinski’s excellent Fieldwork?) I’ve found Aw enjoyable but forgettable in the past, but this has piqued my interest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooh I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as an oral historian. I often find myself frustrated by frame narratives but for whatever reason, that element was the one I was the most drawn to here? The way the differences in their backgrounds played into the way he communicated the story to her was really fascinating to me. I don’t think you’ll find this book earth-shatteringly good or that it will radically change your opinion on Aw, but I would say it’s definitely worth a read.


  2. Great review! I haven’t read much set in Malaysia (I think only The Night Tiger) and this looks like an intriguing next option! The dynamic between the man and the reporter sounds like an interesting way to focus the perspective of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t read anything set in Malaysia before! But this book came to me at a good time – two of my coworkers are going to Malaysia for work in a few months and have been looking for some Malaysian lit, and I happened to be reading this the same week that they asked me for recs.

      Liked by 1 person

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