We, The Survivors

Tash Aw

Ah Hock is an ordinary, uneducated man born in a Malaysian fishing village and now trying to make his way in a country that promises riches and security to everyone, but delivers them only to a chosen few. With Asian society changing around him, like many he remains trapped in a world of poorly paid jobs that just about allow him to keep his head above water but ultimately lead him to murder a migrant worker from Bangladesh.

In the tradition of Camus and Houellebecq, Ah Hock’s vivid and compelling description of the years building up to this appalling act of violence – told over several days to a local journalist whose life has taken a different course – is a portrait of an outsider like no other, an anti-nostalgic view of human life and the ravages of hope. It is the work of a writer at the peak of his powers.

Reviews of We, The Survivors

  • ‘Tash Aw’s new novel succeeds in achieving many feats: it is at once the great novel on today’s racism that we have been waiting for; a masterly fresco of South-East Asia, a region of the world that remains under-represented in literature; and a magnificent story of the social ascent of a man born into poverty, his dreams of becoming someone else, his battles, his shattered hopes, and, finally his downfall – a sort of The Red and the Black of our times, radical and contemporary. We, The Survivors is one of the most beautiful and powerful books I’ve read in years’ Édouard Louis, author of Who Killed My Father

    ‘What a storyteller Tash Aw is’ Doris Lessing

    ‘Aw is a writer of great power and delicacy, as able to conjure stampeding crowds as the glow of fireflies’ Daily Mail

    [Aw] is unmatched at evoking the smells and sounds of the land and cityscapes, the figures of speech and shifting cultural mores of that finger-like peninsula that pokes into the South China Sea’ Independent on Sunday

    ‘Aw is a master storyteller’ Aminatta Forna, Guardian