The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
I totally enjoyed reading The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo. This book is overflowing with mystical Asian phenomena, Weretigers, Chinese number superstitions, missing fingers, twins and more. The novel is set in 1930’s in Malaysia during Colonial rule. The first pages captured my imagination.
“The old man opens his watery blue eyes, those colonial foreign eyes that had frightened Ren so much in the beginning, and whispers something.
The boy bends his cropped head closer.
“Say it.” The hoarse rasp is fading.
“When you are dead, I will find your missing finger.” Ren replies in a clear, small voice.
He hesitates. “And bury it in your grave.”
“Good.” The old man draws a ratline breath. “You must get it back before the forty-nine days of my soul are over.”
I was hooked. Forty-Four is an unlucky number for Chinese because it sounds like “die, definitely die.” Someone is stealing fingers from the pathology specimen room. A headless torso turns up in a garden and the 5 Virtues kept me turning pages.There is also a romantic thread throughout the story.
Learn more about the book and the author in NPR interview with the author, “In 'The Night Tiger,' Fantastic Beasts Of Colonial Malaysia."
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