This collection gathers three of Philip Jeyaretnams 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 nations frailties, cracks and contradictions. Jeyaretnams characters the thinkers, dreamers and doers make their own way, searching for meaning in the gaps between achievement, aspiration and regret.
First Lovesdisplays Jeyaretnams intimate understanding of young love and loss, whileRaffles Place Ragtimeexamines the place of love in relation to ambition, deception and material aspiration. InAbrahams 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, Jeyaretnams spare, thoughtful prose shows off his gift for characterisation and confirms him as an elegant, eloquent stylist.