Book Review: The Space Between the Raindrops

The Space Between the Raindrops by Justin Ker

The Space Between the Raindrops is a collection of 42 very short stories, mostly set in Singapore, with the rest set in other parts of the world. The stories may be short yet the author is able to portray the complexity of the characters; and the content is contemplative.

Justin Ker introduces to us a myriad of intriguing scenarios, such as a male immigrant worker who broke into the flat of a Taiwanese female immigrant to slumber for a few hours on her bed. An elderly woman while on the operating table recalls the times she carried her adopted son piggy-back to school in the rain. A judge in Slovenia accidentally sets fire to his courthouse leaving trails of ash. And, Singapore is personified as a psychiatric patient, diagnosed with a self-identity crisis.

Then there are also perfectly ordinary scenarios that still spawn an intriguing story — a fleeting meeting between a young male photographer and older married woman on a cruise ship. A couple staring out of the windows of Taipei 101. Two National Servicemen debate Singlish pronunciation. Justin views things from remarkable perspectives, calling to our minds ideas would not have occurred that they concern us.

The writing style in the book is poetic with generous use of metaphors. The text is taut but not restrictive, giving space  for one‘s imagination to soar. The vocabulary is rich and the portrayal of characters lively, making them come across as realistic, believable strangers in the street.

Some readers may take issue with how repetitive the writing style gets after several stories. In that case, it would perhaps be better to consume the stories in a few separate sittings.

– This book review first appeared in a lifestyle magazine

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