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Sarong Party Girls

by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Adult Fiction Book Club Recommendations Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Debut Books of the Month Debuts Humour (fiction)

LoveReading View on Sarong Party Girls

Written in Singlish - “a tossed salad of the different languages and Chinese dialects that the country’s multiethnic population speaks” - this exhilarating novel follows brazen Jazzy’s mission to marry a wealthy “ang moh” (white) man. Almost 27, she warns her friends that ”if we don’t get married, engaged or even nail down a boyfriend soon—my god, we might as well go ahead and book a room at Singapore Casket… But luckily for us, we still have one big hope: ang moh guys”, because “if you wear a tight tight dress or short short skirt, these ang mohs will still steam over you”.

To this end, Jazzy’s life is an intense cycle of spending her days working for a newspaper editor who likes to “rubba rubba” his employees, followed by long nights at fancy clubs. Through her predatory attitude and enduring of a whole lot of objectification, this novel is razor-sharp on male entitlement, inequality, racial stereotypes and global capitalism. Indeed, Jazzy wasn’t always a Sarong Party Girl herself: “I would see women who are so obviously going after guys just for status and really look down on them. What kind of woman is so pathetic to chase after a husband just for the kind of handbag, car or condo they can buy them?” And then one night, it seems that enough is enough. Jazzy has an epiphany at dawn after a one hell of a wake-up call night out. What a fresh, funny and wildly acerbic treat this is.

Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Joanne Owen

Sarong Party Girls Synopsis

Just before her twenty-seventh birthday, Jazzy hatches a plan. Before the year is out, she and her best girlfriends will all have spectacular weddings to rich ang moh - Western expat - husbands, with Chanel babies to follow. As Jazzy - razor-sharp and vulgar, yet vulnerable - fervently pursues her quest to find a white husband, the contentious gender politics and class tensions thrumming beneath the shiny exterior of Singapore's glamorous nightclubs are revealed. Desperate to move up in Asia's financial and international capital, will Jazzy and her friends succeed? Vividly told in Singlish - colourful Singaporean English with its distinctive cadence and slang - Sarong Party Girls brilliantly captures the unique voice of a young, striving woman caught between worlds. With remarkable vibrancy and empathy, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan brings not only Jazzy, but her city of Singapore, to dazzling, dizzying life.

Sarong Party Girls Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

A fascinating insight into modern-day Asia through the eye of a girl trying to make her mark on the world. Full review

Nicola Kingswell

Sarong Party Girls Press Reviews

very funny, irreverent, sharp-eyed debut . . . Jazzy's voice is the heart and soul of the book: tart, spirited, brazen, naive, knowing. - Slate

Darkly funny, Sarong Party Girls is one very determined woman's journey through modern Singapore, an intoxicating crossroads of culture, money and ambition. Her voice is utterly new and engaging, bringing her world to vivid life from the first sentence. -- Ayelet Waldman Scarlett O'Hara would have met her match in Jazeline Lim, the brazen, striving, yet ultimately vulnerable heroine of this bold debut novel. -- Julia Glass, National Book Award-winning author of THREE JUNES In Singapore, this satirical novel of predatory beauties would be regarded as deeply subversive - for the rest of us, and anyone familiar with life in that little island city-state, it is hilarious and original. -- Paul Theroux Utterly irresistible....I fell in love with Jazzy's fresh, exuberant voice and trenchant wit. In her debut novel, Tan is saying something profound and insightful about the place of women in our globalized, capitalized, interconnected world. -- Ruth Ozeki -

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781911630302
Publication date: 01/08/2019
Publisher: Allen & Unwin an imprint of Atlantic Books
Format: Paperback

About Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Born and raised in Singapore, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan is a New York-based journalist. She is also the author of A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family, and edited the fiction anthology Singapore Noir. She has been a staff writer at the Wall Street Journal, InStyle magazine and the Baltimore Sun.

More About Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

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