Selina Siak’s latest novel evocatively brings to life the horror of living in Malaya during the Second World War as seen through the eyes of a courageous heroine.
This latest novel by Selina Siak might come across as slightly stilted in terms of the style of writing but as the reader is gradually pulled into Mei Foong’s story it becomes increasingly vivid and meaningful.
Starting from December 1941 when the British forces have fled and the Japanese forces take over Malaya, When the Future Comes Too Soon is a story about the struggle for freedom and to live life to the full that has been carefully through and described by the author.
Every scene of horror that Siak describes is extremely vivid, lingering in the reader’s mind as the full scale of what the people of Malaya went through as Japanese forces increased their influence in the war. But equally, at the centre of the story is the struggle of Mei Foong in an attempt to keep her family together as her somewhat cowardly and bitter husband Weng Yu becomes increasingly angry at the state of the world that he lives in.
Throughout Mei Foong remains practical and for the most part calm, despite occasional moments of resentment directed at her husband bursting through, she is a character that the reader can instantly warm to – being humane and flawed as she is. It is never forgotten that all she wants is to keep her family together at whatever cost – until a chance of happiness threatens to ruin everything that she has worked for.
What Selina Siak has created with When the Future Comes Too Soon is a very humane novel that never flinches from exposing flaws and pain of all the characters. But at the same time, it is so subtly written and the story takes quite a bit of time to develop and engage with that it can be frustrating – particularly during the first couple of chapters.
But despite this, it is a novel that is worth sticking with as the plot begins to slowly come to life and Mei Foong’s desire to keep her family together begins to become increasingly tested by all of those surrounding her.
It is a thoughtful and emotional ride, surrounded by horror and pain that has been written with care and sensitivity. Well worth a read.
When the Future Comes Too Soon is published through Amazon Crossing, £8.99 and is available to buy on Amazon.