Author(s): Sharlene Teo
Set in Singapore, and spanning 50 years, Ponti is a sweeping story of three women and the guilt that ties them to each other. 2003. Singapore. Friendless and fatherless, 16-year-old Szu lives in the shadow of her mother Amisa, once a beautiful actress and now a hack medium performing séances with her sister in a rusty house. When Szu meets the privileged, acid-tongued Circe, they develop an intense friendship which offers Szu an escape from her mother's alarming solitariness, and Circe a step closer to the fascinating, unknowable Amisa. Seventeen years later, Circe is struggling through a divorce in fraught and ever-changing Singapore when a project comes up at work: a remake of the cult seventies horror film series 'Ponti', the very project that defined Amisa's short-lived film career. Suddenly Circe is knocked off balance: by memories of the two women she once knew, by guilt, and by a past that threatens her conscience ... Told from the perspectives of all three women, Ponti by Sharlene Teo is an exquisite story of friendship and memory spanning decades. Infused with mythology and modernity, with the rich sticky heat of Singapore, it is at once an astounding portrayal of the gaping loneliness of teenagehood, and a vivid exploration of how tragedy can make monsters of us.
Set in Singapore, and spanning fifty years, Ponti is the story of three women: sixteen-year-old Szu; her monstrous and beautiful mother, Amisa; and Circe, Szu's unlikely friend. Winner of the Deborah Rogers Writers' Award, this is a novel about love and friendship, and about a guilt spanning decades.
'Remarkable . . . With brilliant descriptive power and human warmth, Sharlene Teo summons the darker currents of modernity - environmental degradation, the suffocating allure of the sparkling modern city and its cataracts of commodities and corrupted language. Against this, her characters glow with life and humour and minutely observed desperation.' -- Ian McEwan
Sharlene Teo (b. 1987) is a Singaporean writer based in the UK. She is the winner of the inaugural Deborah Rogers Writers' Award for Ponti, her first novel. In 2012, she was awarded the Booker Prize Foundation Scholarship to undertake an MA in Prose Fiction at the University of East Anglia, where she is doing a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing. She is the recipient of the 2013 David T.K Wong Creative Writing Fellowship and the 2014 Sozopol Fiction Fellowship.