Title: The Travel Writer
Author: Simone Lazaroo
Published: 2006 by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Limited
Genre: Literary Fiction, Woman’s Fiction
Based in Malacca (Malaysia) and London
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
I found ‘The Travel Writer’ when I was browsing the Singapore Literature section in the library. The cover as well as the summary appealed a lot to me. Set in Malacca (Malaysia) this is a story of 3 generation of women-grandmother, mother and the daughter. This is not a structured book though. It does not follow a time line. The story of the grandmother is not very detailed but the stories of the mother-Ghislaine and the daughter-Isabelle are alternated in chapters.
Ghislaine, as a teenager, is so desperate to escape her surroundings and to explore the world that she gets involved with men who are totally wrong for her. She is looking for an escape from her grief in the form of love. She chases a dream all her life.
Isabelle, living in London, although is very different conditions from her mother, is still looking for the same thing. Love and acceptance.
Simone Lazaroo’s writing is excellent. She writes with a depth, understanding and intelligence that is very rare.
–> In the jungle near home some varieties of Orchids are pollinated by male insects who mistake their colouring and shape for female insects anatomy, my mother had told me as she watered the garden. Flowering is possible despite false love. Remember this.
–> There she was, falling open at the words her lover had marked in her as he undid her page by page, exposing her spine, leaving only this bad translation of her flapping in the wind.
I loved the first half of the book, but after some time the book got very depressing and sad, so much that I could feel the sadness affecting my mood and I wanted to finish the book as soon as possible. It also does not have a definite plot which could help you turn the pages. I’m not sure that’s a complain but too much melancholy does not work for me.
All in all, I would say I like the book and I loved the writing. I would love to read another book by Simone Lazaroo.
Simone Lazaroo was born in Singapore but migrated to Australia at the age of 3. She has won the Western Australian Premier’s Award for Fiction for all three of her novels, which have also been short-listed for national and international literary awards. The World Waiting to be Made has been translated into French and Mandarin, The Australian Fiancé is optioned for film, and extracts from the manuscript of The Travel Writer won awards including the David T.K. Wong Fellowship at the University of East Anglia, England. Simone’s short stories have been anthologised in Australia and England. She was a judge of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Pacific /South East Asian region) in 2006, and lectures at Murdoch University, Perth.