Sep 30, 2020
Once We Were There
Posted by Bernice Chauly

Winner of the 2017 Penang Monthly Book PrizeJournalist Delonix Regia chances upon the cultured and irresistible Omar amidst the upheaval of the Reformasi movement in Kuala Lumpur As the city roils around them, they find solace in love, marriage, and then parenthood But when their two year old daughter Alba is kidnapped, Del must confront the terrible secret of a city wheWinner of the 2017 Penang Monthly Book PrizeJournalist Delonix Regia chances upon the cultured and irresistible Omar amidst the upheaval of the Reformasi movement in Kuala Lumpur As the city roils around them, they find solace in love, marriage, and then parenthood But when their two year old daughter Alba is kidnapped, Del must confront the terrible secret of a city where babies are sold and girls trafficked.By turns heart breaking and suspenseful, Once We Were There is a debut novel of profound insight It is Bernice Chauly at her very best.

  • Title: Once We Were There
  • Author: Bernice Chauly
  • ISBN: 9789814785167
  • Page: 482
  • Format: Paperback
  • Once We Were There Winner of the Penang Monthly Book PrizeJournalist Delonix Regia chances upon the cultured and irresistible Omar amidst the upheaval of the Reformasi movement in Kuala Lumpur As the city roils aro

    Daphne Lee

    Let s get straight to the point Bernice Chauly s debut novel, Once We Were There, does not work, for me.Reasons why it doesn t work The protagonist s nameI still can t get over it and I wonder why the author chose to saddle her character with such a silly, pretentious and distracting name However, Delonix Regia I kid you not is the Latin name of the flame of the forest tree, and as the plant is also known as royal poinciana, I guess Del as she wisely chooses to call herself could have fared wors [...]


    Anna Tan

    Once We Were There is dark and gritty, as fueled by drugs and sex as its setting in late 1990 s early 2000 s Kuala Lumpur The story itself is a story of profound loss It s the story of a woman first losing herself in her anger and her politics, then losing herself in family and motherhood, losing the child that has become an extension of her self, losing herself to drugs, and finally at the end of it all, trying to discover who she is, who she s meant to be after she s lost everything And it doe [...]


    Lyana Khairuddin

    Bernice Chauly have cemented a name for herself as an acclaimed writer through this fiction work of hers Amazing storytelling,the premise of politics interspersed with the very human conditions in the city of KL, with the reformasi years as a fitting backdrop this narrative is just captivating Bernice covered it all drugs, alcohol, capitalism, elitism, transgender rights, women s rights, post natal depression, grief, human trafficking, baby selling baby buying kidnapping baby dying baby killing, [...]


    Tilon Sagulu

    I had high expectations on this novel, and I m a little disappointed It reads like a movie Yes There were good parts, but there were also meh parts, and no, that sounds off parts I think Marina, the trans sex worker from Sabah, should be complex and be developed She s almost too one dimensional and I feel like there s something wrong with her characterization And after a while I got tired of reading Del making love with Omar Though at first it was sexy I didn t like that Omar appeared to be th [...]


    Andrew Tattersall

    Set at the end of the last century and start of this, an insight into the views and life of a middle class Malay woman politically involved in events over this period Interesting for an outsider to understand about the development of the country Also, an interesting and involving story looking at the trafficking of babies, particularly young girls, in the country There is an insight into ladyboy prostitution though this aspect of the story seems a touch improbable to me.


    Illinoisread

    A very disappointing read Skip many pages and give the book away It reads like some half porn, muddling novel, pretentious in a subtle way, superficial, trying to sound like a Western writer when making oriental observations Bad presentation of key themes, wasting the reader s time and little substance What solution or useful insight is the author offering Very little Does not click with me.


    Terri Tan

    Amazingly sexy and invigorating Bernice has captured me from the very first page by introducing characters with such a zeal for life and lust for change The book has multiple climaxes, which takes you on a realistic journey of love, pain, anger, and loneliness A real page turner with a heartbreaking ending This fast paced book is not for the faint hearted.


    Rachel Haselden

    I found this book gripping Warning there s sex, drugs and violence content I have just been to Malaysia for the first time and it is set in Kuala Lumpur, so it gave me a deeper appreciation of the country, the city of KL, culture and politics The main characters are interesting and complex and I kept reading wanting to know what happens to them Powerful writing.


    Brooklynfan

    Some parts read like journalistic gossip and some parts are like mimicking western pulp fiction A periodic sketch for me, no depth and little metaphorical significance Better to read Gone Girl, The Woman In the Window The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Sellout.


    Washingtonvista

    Intriguing story lines, a bit dramatic and imitative of western fiction Did not match my reading objectives I prefer Flannery O Connor, Denis Johnson and Raymond Carver no hard feeling.


    Yolandamalaysia

    Has some exciting scenes and dialogues, but not deep, and many superficial characters A flawed novel.



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