Once We Were There

Once We Were There Winner of the Penang Monthly Book PrizeJournalist Delonix Regia chances upon the cultured and irresistible Omar amidst the upheaval of the Reformasi movement in Kuala Lumpur As the city roils aro

  • Title: Once We Were There
  • Author: Bernice Chauly
  • ISBN: 9789814785167
  • Page: 401
  • Format: Paperback
  • Winner of the 2017 Penang Monthly Book PrizeJournalist Delonix Regia chances upon the cultured and irresistible Omar amidst the upheaval of the Reformasi movement in Kuala Lumpur As the city roils around them, they find solace in love, marriage, and then parenthood But when their two year old daughter Alba is kidnapped, Del must confront the terrible secret of a city wheWinner of the 2017 Penang Monthly Book PrizeJournalist Delonix Regia chances upon the cultured and irresistible Omar amidst the upheaval of the Reformasi movement in Kuala Lumpur As the city roils around them, they find solace in love, marriage, and then parenthood But when their two year old daughter Alba is kidnapped, Del must confront the terrible secret of a city where babies are sold and girls trafficked.By turns heart breaking and suspenseful, Once We Were There is a debut novel of profound insight It is Bernice Chauly at her very best.

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      401 Bernice Chauly
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      Posted by:Bernice Chauly
      Published :2019-01-13T11:09:14+00:00

    About "Bernice Chauly"

    1. Bernice Chauly

      Bernice Chauly is the author of six books of poetry and prose Once We Were There 2017, Winner of the Penang Monthly Book Prize , Onkalo 2013, Direct, honest and powerful JM Coetzee , Growing Up With Ghosts 2011, Winner of the POPULAR The Star Readers Choice Award for Non Fiction , The Book of Sins 2008 , Lost in KL 2008 , and going there and coming back 1997 Born in George Town, Penang to Chinese Punjabi teachers, she read Education, TESL and English Literature in Canada as a government scholar For over 20 years, she has worked extensively in the creative industries as a writer, teacher, photographer, actor and filmmaker and has won multiple awards for her work and her contribution to the arts in Malaysia.Chauly has served as Festival Director of the George Town Literary Festival since 2011, the only state funded literary festival in Malaysia She was also an Honorary Fellow at the University of Iowa s International Writing Program IWP in 2014, and was awarded residencies at the Nederlands Letterenfonds in Amsterdam and the Sitka Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska She is the founder and Director of the KL Writers Workshop, and currently lectures at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus UNMC She lives in Kuala Lumpur with her two daughters.

    569 thoughts on “Once We Were There”

    1. Let’s get straight to the point: Bernice Chauly’s debut novel, Once We Were There, does not work, for me.Reasons why it doesn’t work:The protagonist’s nameI still can’t get over it and I wonder why the author chose to saddle her character with such a silly, pretentious and distracting name. However, Delonix Regia (I kid you not) is the Latin name of the flame of the forest tree, and as the plant is also known as royal poinciana, I guess Del (as she wisely chooses to call herself) could [...]


    2. Once We Were There is dark and gritty, as fueled by drugs and sex as its setting in late 1990's - early 2000's Kuala Lumpur. The story itself is a story of profound loss. It's the story of a woman first losing herself in her anger and her politics, then losing herself in family and motherhood, losing the child that has become an extension of her self, losing herself to drugs, and finally at the end of it all, trying to discover who she is, who she's meant to be after she's lost everything. And i [...]


    3. Bernice Chauly have cemented a name for herself as an acclaimed writer through this fiction work of hers. Amazing storytelling,the premise of politics interspersed with the very human conditions in the city of KL, with the reformasi years as a fitting backdrop - this narrative is just captivating. Bernice covered it all - drugs, alcohol, capitalism, elitism, transgender rights, women's rights, post-natal depression, grief, human trafficking, baby-selling/baby-buying/kidnapping/baby-dying/baby-ki [...]


    4. I had high expectations on this novel, and I’m a little disappointed. It reads like a movie. Yes! There were good parts, but there were also ‘meh’ parts, and ‘no, that sounds off’ parts. I think Marina, the trans sex worker from Sabah, should be more complex and be developed more. She’s almost too ‘one-dimensional’ and I feel like there’s something wrong with her characterization. And after a while I got tired of reading ‘Del making love with Omar.’ Though at first it was s [...]


    5. Set at the end of the last century and start of this, an insight into the views and life of a middle class Malay woman politically involved in events over this period. Interesting for an outsider to understand more about the development of the country. Also, an interesting and involving story looking at the trafficking of babies, particularly young girls, in the country. There is an insight into 'ladyboy' prostitution though this aspect of the story seems a touch improbable to me.


    6. A very disappointing read. Skip many pages and give the book away. It reads like some half-porn, muddling novel, pretentious in a subtle way, superficial, trying to sound like a Western writer when making oriental observations. Bad presentation of key themes, wasting the reader's time and little substance. What solution or useful insight is the author offering. Very little. Does not click with me.


    7. Amazingly sexy and invigorating. Bernice has captured me from the very first page by introducing characters with such a zeal for life and lust for change. The book has multiple climaxes, which takes you on a realistic journey of love, pain, anger, and loneliness. A real page turner with a heartbreaking ending. This fast paced book is not for the faint hearted.


    8. I found this book gripping. (Warning there's sex, drugs and violence content.) I have just been to Malaysia for the first time and it is set in Kuala Lumpur, so it gave me a deeper appreciation of the country, the city of KL, culture and politics. The main characters are interesting and complex and I kept reading wanting to know what happens to them. Powerful writing.


    9. Some parts read like journalistic gossip and some parts are like mimicking western pulp fiction. A periodic sketch for me, no depth and little metaphorical significance. Better to read Gone Girl, The Woman In the Window. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Sellout.


    10. Intriguing story lines, a bit dramatic and imitative of western fiction. Did not match my reading objectives. I prefer Flannery O'Connor, Denis Johnson and Raymond Carver. no hard feeling.


    11. Has some exciting scenes and dialogues, but not deep, and many superficial characters. A flawed novel.


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