It wasn’t love, really. They were just trying to make something out of their lives. Kyoto, 1996, during the passing of Comet Hyakutake: A runaway from Singapore discovers a woman crying in front of a train station at 5.46am. A Straits Times journalist later arrives with her gallerist friend from Madrid, dreading the reenactment of her mother’s performance art. The lives of these four friends—Isaac, Tori, Jing and Mateo—become entangled as a result of one madcap weekend, when fireworks are inexplicably shot over the Kamo River and people become swept to alternate worlds via public transport. Daryl Qilin Yam’s genre-defying second novel ranges across countries and decades, charting the tributaries of pain we thread with our friends and the arcs of the many stories we tell in order to live.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
Lovelier, Lonelier is a strong study of character and explores the emotional impact of love and loss in a narrative that spans multiple countries. The writing is self-assured in its ability to connect the various characters through a number of personal tragedies. The novel tackles meaningful themes such as the nature of reality, the role of chance, intergenerational trauma, and the power of art to redeem or destroy.
– National Library Board of Singapore