4th Estate has signed an “unblinking” novel from prize winning Malaysian author Tash Aw, described as “devastating” and “poignant”.
British Commonwealth rights to We, The Survivors, have been bought by 4th Estate publishing director Nicholas Pearson via Sarah Chalfant of The Wylie Agency.
The novel follows the story of an ordinary young man called Ah Hock, born in a Malaysian fishing village and now trying to make his way in a country that promises riches and security to everyone, but delivers them only to a chosen few. Like many, Ah Hok remains trapped in a world of poorly paid jobs that just about allow him to keep his head above water but ultimately lead him to murder a migrant worker from Bangladesh.
“Ah Hock’s vivid and compelling description of the years building up to this appalling act of violence—told over several days to a local journalist whose life has taken a different course—is a revealing story of class, education and the inescapable workings of destiny,” said the publisher.
Pearson said: “Unblinking, devastating, poignant, We, the Survivors is an extraordinary achievement. Against a backdrop of Asian society undergoing rapid modernisation, Tash Aw explores one man’s battle to cope with the great change around him, struggling to survive day by day. It is a memorable portrait of an outsider like no other, the work of a writer at the peak of his powers.”
Tash Aw was born in Taipei and brought up in Malaysia. He is the author of three novels, The Harmony Silk Factory (Harper Perennial), which was the winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Novel and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize; Map of the Invisible World; and Five Star Billionaire, also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013. He is also the author of a memoir of an immigrant family, The Face: Strangers on a Pier, a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize.
We, The Survivors will be published in 2019.