Translated by Goh Beng Choo
Edited by Jeremy Tiang
Featuring a selection of short stories written between the 1960s and 2000, this collection charts Yeng Pway Ngon's evolution in subject matter and style over time. The earlier stories, written at a time when Yeng was known for his modernist poetry, exude solitude and melancholy, and deal with themes such as the wanton rebelliousness of youth, or the poet's shuttling between death and dream. From the 1970s onwards, he turned his attention to societal concerns— depicting a lonely writer who falls in love with one of his own characters, an unhappy man yearning for life abroad who ends up in a mental hospital, an unemployed man who finds joy in his friendship with a white bird, and another, who worries that he might turn into a flower. Other stories introduce us to a parrot who gets taken to court, an ant enamoured with his silhouette, and a disembodied mouth worshipped by the public. Sarcastic, darkly humorous and surreal, Yeng's writing depicts everyday life in all its absurdism and glory.
The original version of The Non-existent Lover and other Stories, 《不存在的情人》was published in 2007.