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Without Anchovies

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  18 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Heart-rending, hilarious, irreverent, fantastical, macabre and one hundred per cent Malaysian, all at the same time, these twenty-two stories by Chua Kok Yee explore what it is like to live in this bizarre country. And the message is all about hope. These are stories of Malaysian, by a Malaysian, for Malaysians. No apologies asked for, or given.
Paperback, 172 pages
Published June 2010 by Silverfish Books
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Anna Tan
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: malaysiana
Without Anchovies starts with the title story, Sambal Without Anchovies, a bittersweet story about Hanif's ongoing spat with his father regarding improving his nasi lemak stall. It ends with a strange little Twilight-like story, Vampire and Werewolf where an unnamed protagonist recounts her love for Joe, whom she suspects is a murderer. In between, you find robberies, murders, ghosts, cats, abusive Datuks, kiasu strangers, strange feng shui, civilian vigilantes, morphing geckos and much more.

Linda Lingard
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of short stories set in Malaysia by a Malaysian author. It is a romp of a read. Many of the stories are funny and at times bawdy; they are not subtle. Reading it, I felt like I was in a coffee shop with the author while he regaled me with his stories, as a friend would, with embellishments and exaggeration. Everyone enjoyed themselves; they go away saying, "He sure is a wonderful storyteller but I would take everything he said with a large pinch of salt!" I wish the author w ...more
Sharon Bakar
The title piece Sambal without Anchovies, a well-told and moving story of family relationships, love and loss, and a family and nasi lemak business.
My favourite story of all was The Gift and I could have wept for the girl who scrimps and saves to buy her mother a gift ... only to have everything go most horribly wrong. Smoking Can Kill is extremely clever because here smoking does kill, but in the most bizarrely round-about way.

Kok Yee does horror very well - I loved Moving which was an unusual
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-reading-list
Its really good. I'm studying this for my English Literature. I especially loved Thieving Daughter. I'd recommend this to anyone who loved twisted mothers, at least that was in my perspective...
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Surreal and funny at some points. I agreed with the blurb at the back; few stories would really make a great short films. Totally.
Kok Chua
Sep 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  (Review from the author)
Reviewed by Lily Tope Rose from University of the Philippines Diliman,
as appeared in Asiatic, Vol.5, No.1, June 2011

Without Anchovies is a first collection of short stories by Chua Kok Yee, a commercial controller by profession but whose love for writing finally finds proof in this maiden output. The collection has twenty-two stories on varied topics and themes but all set in Malaysia, making itself a tapestry of Malaysian life, especially urban life, in all forms and colours.
In general, the sto
Dec 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
For some time I kept putting off getting this book as I was more or less short on cash until I couldn't wait anymore. When I finally began reading, I think I was a bit disappointed that the stories were shorter than expected. It felt like I had just got sucked in and then, end. Fin. Whyyyyy

On the plus side, it means that the stories don't require you to warm up to it. You get in it fast and it keeps your attention until it ends. Most times shockingly as you didn't expect that twist. Although I t
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