The Mouse Deer Kingdom

3.34 based on 32 ratings & 10 reviews on

The year is 1905 and Chai Mingzhi, an immigrant newly arrived in the port-town of Malacca, takes Engi, an indigenous boy from the tropical forest, to live with him. Trapped in a realm he doesn’t recognize and finding himself caught up in Chai Mingzhi’s bitter personal affairs, Engi quickly learns to take on the shape of the legendary mouse deer in order to survive in the outside world. Twenty years later, Engi sets out to unravel the mystery surrounding Chai’s past, his tireless quest for the land where the grand Minang Villa is built, and the tragedy that destroyed him.

The Mouse Deer Kingdom is a tale of love and betrayal against the backdrop of a troubled time when hundreds of thousands of Chinese fled poverty and the Qing Empire for Southeast Asia, where their arrival unsettled native life in their new home.

A deep and affecting exploration of assimilation and displacement, migration and adaptation . . . Chiew-Siah Tei's understanding of disgrace, ruin and ambition, human cruelty, homesickness, heartache and the illusion of happiness, along with her grasp of the nature of commerce, greed, prejudice and hate, make this a heartfelt story
Asian Review of Books

About Chiew-Siah Tei

Chiew-Siah Tei was born and raised in southern Malaysia. She came to the UK to study in the 1990s, and now lives in Glasgow. Her first novel, Little Hut of Leaping Fishes, was listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2007 and Best Scottish Fiction Prize 2008, and won Readers’ Choice Award in Malaysia.

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Books by Chiew-Siah Tei

Little Hut of Leaping Fishes
Little Hut of Leaping Fishes