Singapore Dream and Other Adventures: Travel Writings from an Asian Journey

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Travel back to the early 1900s and join Hermann Hesse in his sweltering closet of a cabin on a ship sitting in the Suez Canal while the monstrous mosquitoes hungrily bite. In these short but captivating sketches of his travels through the countryside of Indonesia, the author artfully paints with words his impressions of an unfamiliar people, culture, landscape, and place. The sounds of the Malayan towns and jungle, its peoples, the smells, and the exotic plants and animals intoxicate him as do the food and drink. The tropical surroundings become so enveloping that he retires into a dream state, almost as if drugged, as he immerses himself within this bewitching topography. He rails against the colonization of these areas by the Europeans and reflects on “the cruelty of the Chinese, the deceit of the Japanese, the stealing of the Malays, and the other greater and lesser evils of the East.” He delights in observing the activities of the coolies, the grace of the women, the encompassing gaiety of the crowded masses, and at the same time, he reflects on the poverty and delights in examining all the minute details of this sweat-producing equatorial terrain. This translation of these short selections reads like a score of music, and the reader can only delight in the richness of the language that describes an area that may still bear some resemblance to this earlier representation.

Reviewed By:

Author Hermann Hesse • Sherab Chodzin Kohn, Translator
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 160 pages
Publisher Shambhala
Publish Date 2018-Jun-26
ISBN 9781611805895 Buy this Book
Issue October 2018
Category Travel


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