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The Billion Shop

(Babette's Feast #11)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The Billion Shop was a shop near my office that sold paper money and other artefacts for ethnic Chinese people to burn as offerings to their dead. It no longer exists: Jixiang Traditional Foot Massage now stands in its place. I'm not one to lament change, and trust in Adam Smith's invisible hand that the good people of Toa Payoh would rather please souls. But I'm also sent ...more
Chapbook, 102 pages
Published July 2012 by Math Paper Press

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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  113 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Jason Lundberg
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 0wnz0red, collections
You know the feeling of discovering a great new band, one that's still small enough to be playing local clubs and seedy bars, but you can just tell from the quality of their music and the awesomeness of their sound that they're going to make it big someday, and that you were a superfan before they broke through? Reading this chapbook is like the literary equivalent of that experience.

I've been a fan of Stephanie Ye's writing for a few years now, mostly catching her short fiction in Quarterly Lit
Sep 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Disclaimer: I receive a free copy of this book from Books Actually.

This feeling of cosmic and cruel injustice, that of all the random places in all the world to be from, you had to be from here. This place so tiny. Insignificant. Unsophisticated. Hot. Except when it rains."

I feel like this book brings back a sense of memory and familiarity.
Being Singapore, the things said, atmosphere, culture is so relatable and remind me of my childhood at times.

I understand it was short stories but I wish ther
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
รวมเรื่องสั้น 4 เรื่องโดยนักเขียนหญิงชาวสิงคโปร์ ทั้งหมดเล่าเรื่องความสัมพันธ์โดยมีตัวละครหนุ่มสาวที่เคยเป็นเพื่อนร่วมเรียนช่วงไฮสคูลเป็นแกนกลาง ตอนอ่านจบใหม่ๆ ยังไม่รู้สึกว่ามีอะไรกระทบใจมากนัก แต่พอทิ้งระยะให้ความรู้สึกได้ตกตะกอนก็พบว่าผู้เขียนถ่ายทอดความสัมพันธ์ของ "คนกับคน" และ "คนกับเมือง" ได้งดงามมาก โดยเฉพาะฉากหลังที่สิงคโปร์—เมืองที่เป็นประเทศและประเทศที่เป็นเมือง เราสัมผัสได้ว่าความพยายามในการสร้างชาติและความเจริญทางเศรษฐกิจอย่างรวดเร็วของสิงคโปร์นั้น ในทางหนึ่งได้บ่อนเซาะ "ความรู้สึกผู ...more
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Such a neat concept, executed with élan. A charming collection of four stories that made me raise my eyebrows as I realised how the characters in previous stories were linked to those in later ones. It was interesting to read stories from both the perspective of the character himself/herself and the perspective of someone close to this character. Also noteworthy was how I could get a sense of how a character named Emma grew from a precocious eleven-year-old to a hesitant mum-to-be. Through time ...more
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great, but too slim, collection of stories. Displacement, physical and spiritual, is a theme that runs through all three of the stories here, and Ye's skill with language is remarkable. Definitely a writer to watch out for.
K Flewelling
This book is a perfect gem of beautiful ordinariness, where the descriptions so effortlessly describe a world all at once foreign and familiar. After visiting Singapore to attend a conference early this year, I became fascinated by the short and curious history of this tiny city-state. The short lines on the back of the book described the changes the author -- a 30-year-old (at the time of publishing) Singaporean -- had experienced in her life, and these stories a paper offering to the places an ...more
Esther Lai
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
The intriguing description of the book made me purchase it, and I was pleasantly surprised as i began reading the first story. Even more so, when I realised all four stories were connected. Was delightful to travel from a character's story to the next, unpacking their friendships as well as how their outlook on life changed as they grew older. Personal favourite was The Billion Shop.

Judith Huang
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, brilliant
Deftly crafted, these four interlinked stories are a little window into middle class Singaporean JC and post JC life, its outward facing character and the tenuous connections between people when they leave school. Quite beautiful.
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
woulda given it five stars but i just wish it was longer!
Sep 19, 2020 rated it liked it
The Billion Shop is a very short book (chapbook) consisting of four interconnected short stories. On the whole, the book does not seem to have a striking storyline, and the stories, though interconnected, don’t have any clear overarching theme. Yet, it is this lack of specificity that allows room for readers to think and ponder upon the meanings of the narrative.

Like the previous book I read, From the Belly of the Cat, which was edited by the same author Stephanie Ye, I am glad the stories here
Maya Saputra
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
There's so much feeling in less than 100 pages. I love it when I found out that the stories are actually interlinked, and I only realized it when I came across familiar names in the next stories. The last part brought me to fully round up a story of childhood friends, and how far the relationships have stretch after they're no longer bound by the force of school universe.

Bringing (or ordering, in a case) one chapbook home made me feel like a kid carrying her unopened gift box home. I knew that
Hui Ping
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
It was amazing how well they linked all the 4 short stories together, concluding with one of the most important elements in life- friendship.

The local setting would definitely set in nostalgia for readers like us as well, "billion shops" found among shophouses. It is a pity that our small country's rapid development have been eroding many of these areas, and these stories serve well to hold memories of this place which would otherwise have been forgotten.
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Ye reminds me of a Singaporean Alice Munro somehow. The stories grow in strength: The Billion Store and Astoria are especially wonderful (even if they're not as sublime as Seascrapers, that really is a standout short). I'm not sure how much I cared for the continuing retinue of characters though -- that felt like writerly scaffolding that could have been done without with. It's a very lovely anthology though, and I can't wait to read more from Ye.
Ana A
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book during my vacation in Singapore because I wanted to read something local. What I got, though, was a glimpse of how internationally involved Singapore is. The stories span countries and cultures. I think my favorite of the four short stories is "The Billion Shop" but I like how all of the four were connected to each other.
Ray Ong
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
of moments missed, due to the choices we made. life is beautiful in its mysterious ways, and Ye brilliantly illustrates this through her wonderful interlinked stories. the best stories give you insight on the human condition, and this doesn't fail on that aspect.
Charlene Lee
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Loved the way Stephanie, through reducing the most familiar local things in writing, made them into something much more than the ordinary things we have grown to neglect around us.

I loved this book so much that I hate how it ended too soon.
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Five stars for Steph -- but seriously, these stories take me back to the textures of Singaporean JC (junior college) life in the '90s.
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful writing. Really enjoyed this!
Sabrina Loh
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Lovely book with sweet prose that tells neat little stories about people who desire for something more. Enjoyed it very much.
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it

Really liked Cardiff and Astoria and the sense of the passing of time.
Yu-Mei Balasingamchow
This collection includes "City in C Minor", one of my favourite short stories of all time.
rated it really liked it
Mar 18, 2013
Doubly Roundy
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Aug 21, 2013
rated it it was ok
Dec 28, 2014
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Feb 21, 2018
Caroline Rosa
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May 11, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Feb 15, 2013
Estelle Lee
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Nov 19, 2014
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Jan 06, 2019
Evan Duggan
rated it it was amazing
Oct 22, 2014
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Stephanie Ye is a writer from Singapore, based in London. Her work has been staged as a dance performance in New York City, translated into German for an art exhibition in Berlin, and used as an O-level examination text in Singapore. Her short story chapbook, The Billion Shop, was published in 2012, and she edited the fiction anthology From The Belly Of The Cat in 2013. A graduate of the MA in Cre ...more

Other books in the series

Babette's Feast (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • My Suit
  • You Cannot Count Smoke
  • What Gives Us Our Names
  • The Law of Second Marriages
  • The World Must Weigh The Same
  • Victimology
  • Careless
  • Do You Fear The Line?
  • I'm Still Here
  • Bare 素颜

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