The Great Reclamation
Miranda Cowley Heller, author of The Paper Palace
'A monumental epic . . . I was spellbound'
Nathan Harris, author of The Sweetness of Water
'Alive to the beauty and mystery of the natural world as well as the human heart'
Jessamine Chan, author of The School for Good Mothers
'Ah Boon's story will stay with me for a long time'
Lara Prescott, author of The Secrets We Kept
Ah Boon is born into a fishing village amid the heat and beauty of twentieth-century coastal Singapore, in the waning years of British rule. He is a gentle boy, who is not much interested in fishing, preferring to spend his days playing with the neighbour girl, Siok Mei. But when he discovers he has the unique ability to locate bountiful, movable islands that no one else can find, he feels a new sense of obligation and possibility - something to offer the community and impress the spirited girl he has fallen in love with.
By the time they are teenagers, Ah Book and Siok Mei are caught in the tragic sweep of history: the Japanese army invades, the resistance rises and the future of their fishing village is in jeopardy. As the nation hurtles towards rebirth, the two friends must carve out their fate and decide who they will become - and what they are willing to give up.
This is a powerful coming-of-age, of both a young boy and a country, as well as an aching love story, that confronts the wounds of progress, the sacrifices of love, and the difficulty of defining home when nature and nation collide.