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The Scent of the Gods

The Scent of the Gods

FIONA CHEONG
Edited by Leslie Bow
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt1xchwb
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  • Book Info
    The Scent of the Gods
    Book Description:

    The Scent of the Gods tells the enchanting, haunting story of a young girl's coming of age in Singapore during the tumultuous years of its formation as a nation. Eleven-year-old Su Yen bears witness to the secretive lives of "grown-ups" in her diasporic Chinese family and to the veiled threats in Southeast Asia during the Cold War years. From a child's limited perspective, the novel depicts the emerging awareness of sexuality in both its beauty and its consequences, especially for women. In the context of postcolonial politics, Fiona Cheong skillfully parallels the uncertainties of adolescence with the growing paranoia of a population kept on alert to communist infiltration. In luminous prose, the novel raises timely questions about safety, protection, and democracy--and what one has to give up to achieve them._x000B__x000B_Ideal for students and scholars of Asian American and transnational literature, postcolonial history, women's studies, and many other interconnected disciplines, this special edition of The Scent of the Gods includes a contextualizing introduction, a chronology of historical events covered in the novel, and explanatory notes.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09008-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction: Singapore/Girl
    (pp. vii-xxxiv)
    LESLIE BOW

    The imaginary does have consequence in the real. Or so the child narrator of Fiona Cheong’s novelThe Scent of the Godsis told in a lesson about the equator. The fictional Sister Katherine is most definitely correct in ways she may not have anticipated.

    Depicting Singapore’s growing pains as a nation,The Scent of the Godswon immediate critical praise when it was first published in 1991. Written from the perspective of a young girl, Cheong’s novel was deemed “charged and poetic,” her story “exquisitely poised between the specific and the mythic, delicately narrated and profoundly resonant” (Steinberg 44)....

  4. Chronology
    (pp. xxxv-xxxvii)
  5. [Map]
    (pp. xxxviii-xxxviii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxxix-xl)
  7. The Scent of the Gods
    (pp. 1-248)

    We used to play hide-and-seek underneath Great-Grandfather’s house, where the sand was soft and the dark wove threads like cool smoke, and stone pillars glimmered smooth white at the edges of the dark. Between the pillars ran the water pipes, a network of hanging paths. They smelled old, long-used, and full of balance. Underneath them we would crawl, pillar to pillar, hiding from my cousin Li Shin, who knelt at his pillar with his eyes closed and counted one two three four five six seven eight nine ten. When evening came we would hear the grown-ups arriving home and walking...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 249-250)
  9. Interview with Fiona Cheong
    (pp. 251-258)
    Leslie Bow and Fiona Cheong

    Leslie Bow: What do you remember most about growing up in Singapore during the 1960s and ’70s? What do you recall about the transitions the country was going through or the increasing role of the government in every day life?

    Fiona Cheong: I remember curfews. This is the first thing that comes to me when you ask that question, which is interesting to me because being a young child at the time, I wasn’t allowed out on the street on my own anyway, at night. It must have been one of those experiences that children can “absorb” from their parents...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 259-261)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 262-262)