The Earnest Mask
Xi Ni Er
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In this Singapore Literature Prize-winning collection of stories, an aging Japanese ex-soldier, ignorant about the horrors of the Japanese Occupation, returns to Singapore for a nostalgic visit; a young boy’s sole contact with his father consists of a weekly meeting at McDonald’s; and a hopeful employee tries to win over his tumour-stricken boss with traditional Chinese medicine. Set against the backdrop of Singapore’s rapid development from the 1980s to the early 2000s, the poignant and witty stories in The Earnest Mask peel back the veneer of official history, revealing flashes of the personal stories buried beneath.