‘Fistful of Colours’ is an elegant, multi-layered reflection on Singapore as experienced through one day in the life of Suwen, a young teacher in search of her identity as a woman and an artist. Peering into the rich history of her stepfather’s family, Suwen uncovers and reveals the hopes and struggles of Singapore’s first generation of immigrants and residents – from Chinese collies, Indian doctors and Malay waiters, each is given a unique and vibrant voice. Woven into this narrative are stories of Suwen’s fellow artists that touch upon themes of art, identity and the pursuit of personal and artistic freedom. It is their search for answers that give this lyrical, beautifully considered and well-loved book its restive spirit.
‘Fistful of Colours’ is a seminal novel in Singapore’s literary canon and was the first book to receive the Singapore Literature Prize in 1992. ‘Fistful of Colours’ was recently selected as one of ten Singapore classic novels by The Sunday Times. The new edition includes a preface from the author.