Publisher and Publication Date: Flatiron Books. 2019.
Genre: Fiction. Malaysia. Coming of age story. Mystery.
Audience: Readers wanting something different. A mystery but also a coming of age story. Setting is in Malaysia during the 1930s British colonial era.
I finished reading this book December 26, 2019. This book is shelved with books read in 2019.
The year is 1931. Malaysia.
Ji Lin is a young woman who is an apprentice dressmaker. She is also working as a dance-hall girl in order to pay off her mother’s mahjong debts. Her job as a dance-hall girl is a secret to most, as well as the debts her mother owes. She has a step-father and a step-brother. Her step-brother, Shin is studying to be a doctor. While Ji Lin is dancing with a salesman, a small cylinder falls out of his pocket and she catches it. The salesman is unaware. Later, Ji Lin looks in the cylinder and finds a finger.
Ren is an eleven year old boy. His twin died. He promised a dying man he will find the missing finger and bury it in his grave. He has 49 days or his soul will be taken. Ren works as a house boy for a surgeon.
The Night Tiger has a storyline that I’ve not read before. It held strong interest to me all the way through the book, till I knew the outcome or resolve.
In addition, there is a mysterious supernatural element in the story of victims being killed and half eaten (supposed) by what the locals believe is a ghost animal (possibly a tiger.) This conflict in the story is an example of the people’s superstitions. The people believe in luck. For example, people can be lucky or unlucky and this determines their life. Ren believes he must carry out the dying man’s last wish or he will suffer soul consequences. Ji Lin hates her unlucky life. She feels trapped by duty. What can she do to change things?
Ren needs what Ji Lin has. How will these two people come together for a satisfying resolution for both of them?
I enjoyed reading this book! It’s a different type of read for me.