This collection gathers three of Philip Jeyaretnam’s best-known works in a single volume. Together, they showcase his mastery of the written word across a range of forms, subject matter and emotional landscapes. The short stories and novels set in Singapore explore themes of identity, materialism, interracial relationships, power and betrayal while exposing the nation’s frailties, cracks and contradictions. Jeyaretnam’s characters – the thinkers, dreamers and doers – make their own way, searching for meaning in the gaps between achievement, aspiration and regret.
First Loves displays Jeyaretnam’s intimate understanding of young love and loss, while Raffles Place Ragtime examines the place of love in relation to ambition, deception and material aspiration. In Abraham’s Promise, an old man comes to an understanding and reconciliation of his life and times hard-won in maturity.
Charged with emotional power and clarity, Jeyaretnam’s spare, thoughtful prose shows off his gift for characterisation and confirms him as an elegant, eloquent stylist.