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The River’s Song

Voted Best Indie Book by Kirkus Reviews and awarded a prestigious Blue Star.

Ping, an American citizen, returns to Singapore after many years and sees a country transformed by prosperity. Gone are the boatmen and hawkers who once lived along the crowded riverside and in their place rise the gleaming towers of the financial district.

Her childhood growing up among the river people had been very different, and leaving her first love Weng, a musician, for America, had been devastating.

Now that she is back in Singapore, can she face her former lover and reveal the secret that has separated them for many years?


“Lim’s affecting, lushly textured historical novel… A fine, deeply felt saga of lives caught up in progress that’s as heartbreaking as it is hopeful.” Kirkus, 5 * Blue Star Review

«The River’s Song is a startling work of brilliance that leaves the reader spellbound.»

“…just as the best novels should be but so rarely are: like immersion in a vivid dream. I couldn’t decide whether to read it slowly in order to savour every word, or to race along, mesmerised by Lim’s dazzling story-telling.” Jill Dawson, British author of The Great Lover, (Richard and Judy’s Bookclub)

“…a winning coming of age novel that bridges the years and countries. Here is the buoyancy of sentences and a testimony of resilience.” Krys Lee, award-winning Korean author of The Drifting House

“…powerful, deep and moving — draws you in and pulls you along irresistibly. Its heartfelt swell will carry you away to a place of passion and resonant conviction.” Kevin MacNeil, Scottish author of the best-selling The Stornoway Way

“A touching story that retrieves Singapore’s fast disappearing past and gives its famous river the depth and colour of a people’s history, and a wonderful rendition of the pipa, on the page, as mother and daughter play their songs from the heart.” Romesh Gunasekera author of Reef, shortlisted for the Booker Prize

Singapore Literature Prize Winner and South East Asia Write Award winner

Suchen Christine Lim is one of Singapore’s most distinguished writers. In 1992, her third novel, Fistful of Colours, was awarded the Inaugural Singapore Literature Prize. A Bit Of Earth (2000), her fourth novel, and her popular short-story collection, The Lies That Build A Marriage (2007) were later shortlisted for the same prize.

Awarded a Fulbright grant in 1997, she is a Fellow of the International Writers Program, University of Iowa, and the first Singapore writer honoured as the university’s International Writer-in-Residence in 2000. A regular guest at Writers' Festivals in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, and UK she has also held writing residencies in Myanmar, the Philippines, South Korea and at the University of Western Australia in Perth.

In 2011, she was the Visiting Fellow in Creative Writing at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. In 2012, she won the South East Asia Write Award. In the UK, she has regularly been writer-in— residence at the Arvon Foundation and has tutored at Moniack Mhor in Scotland.
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