Sandi Tan's Blog

February 5, 2014

Here's my interview with crime author Laura Lippman for the February 2014 Goodreads newsletter:

Not only does she tell me she's a fan of Lifetime movies, she's also instructive on the importance of physical exercise (she does boot camp!) and bravery: "When you're writing fiction in the 21st century, you're staring up a mountain, and it's so tall that the peak is out of almost everyone's reach. And you can be frustrated or you can say, I'm going up that mountain. You have to get braver. It makes me think of a short story that Italo Calvino wrote in Cosmicomics called "How Much Shall We Bet," about an eternal wager. And I think for novelists who are really honest with themselves, they are in an eternal wager."
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Published on February 05, 2014 10:18 • 277 views • Tags: crime, interview, lauralippman, writing

August 6, 2012

This is so lovely to see!:
"Destined to be among summer’s sleeper hits is Sandi Tan’s gulpable first novel, THE BLACK ISLE (Grand Central)." -Vogue

Here's my interview with Megan O'Grady of VOGUE:
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Published on August 06, 2012 15:22 • 203 views • Tags: black-isle, vogue

August 3, 2012

Gah! I am profiled in this Sunday's LOS ANGELES TIMES. See the article online, with a spooky photo to boot:

They call THE BLACK ISLE “an ambitious, supernatural coming-of-age story…With its paranormal-meets-goth sensibility and angsty, flawed-but-fierce heroine, "The Black Isle" is a natural fit for the "Twilight" crowd... But the book is decidedly darker than the vampire series and not without social commentary.”
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Published on August 03, 2012 11:28 • 88 views • Tags: black-isle, lat, los-angeles-times

July 12, 2012

Here's the first trailer for THE BLACK ISLE!
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Published on July 12, 2012 14:24 • 75 views

May 28, 2012


The Black Isle
Sandi Tan. Grand Central, $24.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-446-56392-5
Tan’s ambitious debut is a gripping historical novel set on an exotic island in Southeast Asia during a 60-year span that encompasses the island’s primitive condition as a British colony, the WWII Japanese invasion, and its postwar transformation. Thanks to a deep natural harbor, fine climate, and convenient position between India and China, the island becomes “the shiny opal in the empire’s Far Eastern crown.” But since the heroine has the gift—or curse—of seeing the dead, this is also a gothic tale with scenes of grisly supernatural horror, its atmosphere full of dark omens and a sense of the macabre. Narrator Ling, who later changes her name to Cassandra, is born in early 1920s China. As an adolescent, she goes with her father and twin brother to the aptly named Black Island, where she lives through one harrowing event after another as she’s forced to summon spectral apparitions in order to placate the men who rule her life: her feckless father, the Japanese officer who makes her his mistress, and the ruthlessly ambitious Oxford-educated politician in whose bed she finds herself next. Tan’s imagination seems boundless as she involves her protagonist in events that force her to evade moral scruples in order to stay alive. Conveying an atmosphere of corruption, violence and betrayal, Tan anchors the narrative with authoritative details of time and place, and social and ethnic rituals. Her descriptions of the supercilious British and the arrogant, depraved Japanese are brutally candid. Her stark, knife-sharp images of horror-inducing events—a woman in sexual congress with an octopus, a schoolgirl’s body dangling from a ceiling fan, forced sex in public as entertainment for Japanese army officers, occult rites in a cemetery, prisoners forced to harvest fleas from bodies to make pathogens, sharks bursting out of an aquarium tank and devouring children, a huge gathering of ghastly corpses—are not for fainthearted readers, but the tale as a whole maintains its mesmerizing power throughout. Agent: Barbara Braun. (Aug.7)
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Published on May 28, 2012 08:05 • 107 views

April 5, 2012

I'm here! testing the waters in the swamp that is Goodreads...

BOOK VIDEOS will materialize in July and there are plans for a BOOK PARTY in August that will take place in a haunted old glamour spot here in Los Angeles.

Until then, here's a happy little intro to THE BLACK ISLE:

In a dark apartment atop a city in winter, an old woman with a secret is shaking. Her name is Cassandra and her past is catching up with her.

When a mysterious caller makes her an offer that’s at once seductive and menacing, Cassandra has no choice but to recount her life story in full. It is a vast, exciting, sometimes frightening, adventure that begins in 1920’s Shanghai, the city where Cassandra first learns of her gift—some say curse. At seven, she flees with her twin brother to the Black Isle, a bustling British colony near the equator with a shadow world that nobody but she can see: It is teeming with ghosts. As a young woman, she is torn between two loves: pure, handsome, wealthy Daniel and an outsider who’s cleverer and more unpredictable—but who may yet be her soul-mate.

Her growth is set against the horrors of the Japanese invasion during World War II, the isle’s struggle for independence and finally its metamorphosis into an Asian powerhouse. Through it all, Cassandra tries in turn to deny, tame, then master her uncanny gift. In so doing, she forges her own identity as well as her new country’s.

Her epic tale is one of a woman coming to terms with her own powers after having lived in the thrall of various men, beginning with her beloved brother. With age comes wisdom but also frailty—and fear. As someone who has lived and loved with equal intensity, Cassandra knows that where dark spirits are concerned, there’s never such a thing as a clean escape.

“On THE BLACK ISLE, a young woman grows old with the Twentieth Century, haunting her own life as history conspires to render her a secret. Sweeping in scope, impressively imagined, ruthlessly readable.”
-Steve Erickson, author of THESE DREAMS OF YOU and ZEROVILLE

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Published on April 05, 2012 11:22 • 132 views • Tags: black-isle