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The Billion Shop

(Babette's Feast #11)

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4.18  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  20 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 4.18  · 
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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 Q
...more
Chawanat
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
รวมเรืองสัน 4 เรืองโดยนักเขียนหญิงชาวสิงคโปร ทังหมดเลาเรืองความสัมพันธโดยมีตัวละครหนุมสาวทีเคยเปนเพือนรวมเรียนชวงไฮสคูลเปนแกนกลาง ตอนอานจบใหมๆ ยังไมรูสึกวามีอะไรกระทบใจมากนัก แตพอทิงระยะใหความรูสึกไดตกตะกอนกพบวาผูเขียนถายทอดความสัมพันธของ "คนกับคน" และ "คนกับเมือง" ไดงดงามมาก โดยเฉพาะฉากหลังทีสิงคโปร—เมืองทีเปนประเทศและประเทศทีเปนเมือง เราสัมผัสไดวาความพยายามในการสรางชาติและความเจริญทางเศรษฐกิจอยางรวดเรวของสิงคโปรนัน ในทางหนึงไดบอนเซาะ "ความรูสึกผูกพัน" ของคนหนุมสาวทีมีตอประเทศของตนใหนอยลงอยางไม ...more
Faterider
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
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
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.
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
...more
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.
Askwhy
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.
Dave
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.
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.
Mayee
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.
Qianyu
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.
Jon
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.
Sherilyn
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Rae
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Evan Duggan
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Jovanka Lim
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Aug 06, 2012
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Vikki
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May 27, 2017
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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