My beloved friend and idol, the Singaporean writer Cyril Wong
gave me this as a gift.
"The best liars always tell a mixture of truth and lies, and the very best believe their own lies in the end."
This line from the book's introduction really caught me. In a way, I am affected by this passage and made me more interested to read the book. Lying is more common in fictional prose. Poems for me are more of the truth and therefore, more genuine. So it made me wonder, how could this poetry collection be, in a way, a product of lies? The author herself stated that this book would only be touching if the reader believes that it is the unequivocal truth.
The Law of Second Marriages is a short but interesting book. It is a book of poetry about family, but it also talks about love, desire, pain and other emotions and realities of life. A family psychodrama indeed, as the poet herself stated. In a way, I see this book as a sort of novel, a drama wherein the story is written in the form of short poems. The poetry is very direct. Sometimes, there are no metaphors or any other literary devices. It is written in a plain and concise way that sometimes bothers me in a way because the images it creates are so stark. The poems can be interpreted in many ways because of the curt vignette-like structure of each one, little anecdotes that shows a momentary picture in the mind's eye. It is up to us readers how we would decipher the messages of the poem, the same way a painting paints a thousand words.
After reading this short chapbook, I became interested to read more of Christine Chia's writings and I hope I would be able to procure some more of them soon.