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The Heartsick Diaspora

Book review

A collection of books that resonate with our community.


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“The Heartsick Diaspora and Other Stories” is a collection of short stories written by Elaine Chiew. The stories range from everyday life, historical fiction to Eastern mythology but all center around Chinese diaspora within Southeast Asia and Europe.

With a focus on people of Chinese descent, the stories are sprinkled with Mandarin and Cantonese words, culture and food. But worry not if you are not Chinese, the stories told remain relatable. Chiew combines many different factors that relate to diaspora communities: language barriers within your own family, missing home, not understanding home, identity crises and more. If you are part of a diaspora community, regardless from where, these stories will definitely touch you and seem familiar.

“Maggie and Winnie broke up with laughter. ‘Mother, don’t be so suaku lah,’ Maggie said. ‘You think this country don’t drink Chinese tea?’ Her mother’s lips thinned into a straight line. ‘How should I know? They kill their own princess and queue up to go to the loo.’”

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