Stylish, subtle and funny, Shih-Li Kow is an amazing storyteller. The Sum of Our Follies is the story of characters living in a backwater town, Lubok Sayong, in a so called ‘developing country’ in Asia with no claim to fame apart from its annual floods, a dubious legend and general mediocrity, struggling with modernity; one that could be compared to the little towns and characters of Amado and Narayan, with just a touch of Calvino.
Shih-Li Kow’s novel has won a top French literary award in 2018. The prize is called the “Prix du Premier Roman étranger”, which literally translates as “First Novel Award, in the foreign category”.
Shih-Li Kow is a Malaysian writing sensation who came to light with her first book of short stories, Ripples and other stories, in 2009, which was immediately shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award that year, beating Ali Smith and Kazuo Ishiguro to the list. The Sum of Our Follies has been translated to Italian and French.