Be warned. Mothers should not read these stories to their children, even though they might contain a lonely elf, a talking moon, a butterfly that wants to be a rabbit, or a boy who was born with a flower as an unfortunate appendage. Hovering within the realm of fables, myths and fairy tales, here are unlikely bedtime stories that are best read on a dark, stormy night, and at the risk of wounding the soul.
“Cyril Wong is proving himself to be a prose stylist of a calibre that threatens to outdo his poetry, with words so poignant and heartfelt, and a narrative drive that’s often direct and bold yet breathtaking in its fragile beauty.”
—Gerrie Lim, author of Invisible Trade and Inside the Outsider
“… his work expands beyond simple sexuality … to embrace themes of love, alienation and human relationships of all kinds.” —TIME (Asia)
Wong takes fairytales and works them into a surreal lustre…the heart of these stories gestures to a time before fairytales were saccharine fantasies. Their magic springs from the fact that they incorporate — within realms crammed with elves and water spirits and weird metamorphoses — an unvarnished sense of life’s desolations. Some deal overtly with sexuality: The Boy With The Flower That Grew Out Of His Ass is a fable of wounding poignancy about homophobia; The Queen & Her Eventual Knowledge Of Love is a post-mortem coming-out story. Others stray towards more classical magical realism. A vivid collection that will enchant and disturb.
Cameron Woodhead, The Age, Aug. 29 2009
With their largely timeless, mostly placeless settings (though let it be known that several stories are clearly set in Singapore, with the different races represented), the focus is tightly on the individual and his or her moments of despair and epiphany, cutting swiftly to the emotional quick…These are fairy tales that provide readers with the simple pleasure of being transported into fantasy realms, yet they also offer the sharp bite of contemporary issues and themes that appeals to a more mature audience than the folkish narratives would initially suggest.
Stephanie Yap, The Straits Times, Sep. 6 2009