Monday, August 17, 2015

Book Review: KL Noir

Title: KL Noir: Red
Series: KL Noir #1
Author: Amir Muhammad, Adib Zaini, Preeta Samarasan, Marc de Faoite, Shaz Johar, Shih-Li Kow, Fadzlishah Johanabas, Dina Zaman, Eeleen Lee, Kris Williamson, Shivani Sivagurunathan, Khairulnizam Bakeri, Megat Ishak, Dayang Noor, Amir Hafizi & Brian Gomez
Genre: Young Adult (Science Fiction & Time Travel)
Publisher: Fixi Novo
Publish Date: February 2013
Pages: 270

Book blurb: KL NOIR: Red is the first of 4 volumes about the Malaysian capital city's dark side. There are 14 short stories and one essay about the seedy, the sinister and sometimes the spooky. You will find murder, drug-dealing, kidnapping, sexual depravity, prostitution, celebrity secrets, suicides, academic rivalry, gangsters, police brutality, cannibalism, black magic, creepy rituals, political corruption and even busking. It's all totally fictional. Well, maybe the cannibalism is.

Overall rate: ★★☆☆☆ (2.2 out of 5)

Book cover: 2/5

Story plot: 1.5/5

Characters: 2/5

Language: 3.5/5

Book's world: 2/5

Favourite excerpt from the book:

Now she had no idea what he'd told Velma. From her room, the faint sounds of their cheerful talk reached Suhana's ears. Between tears she tried smiling.

When they met in the living room, Suhana was sure she glimpsed love shining from Velma's face. Let them laugh tonight. So that in times of turmoil, Azreel would have someone to turn to.

So that the void within him would vanish.


I was never a fan of short stories (cerpen). Still not.

I didn't really have any expectation when I first picked up KL Noir. Mostly because it consists of short stories, and the fact that Fixi books never really catch my attention. But last year, a friend of mine had been recommending this book to me. Just recently, my little sister borrowed this book for I-don't-know-what-reason-because-she's-not-interested-with-fixi-books-either. Since it's an English book written by some Malaysians and the background is also Malaysia, I thought, "Why not? Maybe I'll end up liking it, who knows? No harm will be done anyway."

So I picked it up.

Read it.

And finished it within a day with disappointment.

Let me quote what Amir Muhammad wrote first:

The idea for this book came about when the charming man-of-letters Jerome Bouchaud suggested a KL version of the anthology Bangkok Noir. Of course KL isn't as old, big or notorious as Bangkok but (and I say this with pride) we can do crime and sleaze, too!

Seriously, what's there to be proud of with crimes and sleazes happening in your country? 

The theme for KL Noir's stories were rather dark and twisted, and I'm very much aware that most of these things were really happening in KL. But it pained me that these kind of lifestyles and habits were exposed as if it was a normal thing that everyone can do. For instance, not trusting in God (the issue is not really the religion, but more about disrespecting the religion and saying religious/pious people are crazy), lesbian, gay, open sex and stuff like that. 

I couldn't even catch any moral values in any of the stories by the way, but I'm pretty sure that's what was intended when this book was published. So, all in all, to me, this book basically gives nothing but nonsensical things to me. I don't regret reading it, because it did open my mind to some new things, but sorry to say, I can't recommend this book to anyone. You're welcomed to read it anyway if you love Fixi books.

Despite my dislikeness over this book, I do think A Gift of Flowers, Vanished and Cannibal VS. Ah Long were worth the read. I did enjoy reading them.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

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