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Now You See Us

"Moving, entertaining and suffused in sisterhood, this thorough-bred page-turner shines a vital light on the lives and exploitation of female migrant workers in Singapore."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Tender, terrifically funny and thought-provoking, Balli Kaur Jaswal‘s Now You See Us is rooted in the real-life experiences of Filipino domestic workers in Singapore — women who are often exploited by their employees, and subjected to racism by society at large. As such, it’s an important, enlightening novel that gives voice to unheard experiences through sharing the stirring stories of three unforgettable women.

Corazon, Angel and Donita have all moved to Singapore to work for the Merry Maids Employment Agency. While each woman’s employer - their Ma’am - requires different things of them, the three women share the same precarious existence, and they each bear a secret.

Take Cora, for example, who’s movingly haunted by an event involving her beloved nephew, and says of her atypically kind Ma’am early on, “Please don’t let her ask me about what happened in Manila”. Then there’s Donita, a young woman navigating lust and love in a city that demands she remains unseen.

Into this, a mutual friend is arrested for the murder of her ma’am and could be executed. She’s been scapegoated for the crime, as any of them could be. And so the women rally round to try to clear her name.

With comments on the Ma’ams’ Facebook pages revealing deep-rooted bigotry, snobbery and class divisions, and the arrest revealing blatant injustice, Now You See Us has real potency. Add to that three powerful personal stories that’ll move you, and sometimes make you smile (Donita has a wonderful knack of doing that), and you have a richly rewarding, long-lingering read. I’ll be tracking down everything Balli Kaur Jaswal has written.

Joanne Owen

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Primary Genre Modern and Contemporary Fiction
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