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Shortlisted for the 2018 Singapore Literature Prize for Fiction “The stories in this gorgeous collection are complex yet clear, heartbreaking yet hopeful, sharp-witted yet compassionate. Jennani Durai is an exciting new voice in literature, a writer to watch!” –Tayari Jones, multi-award-winning author of An American Marriage A teenager discovers his grandfather's secret iden Shortlisted for the 2018 Singapore Literature Prize for Fiction “The stories in this gorgeous collection are complex yet clear, heartbreaking yet hopeful, sharp-witted yet compassionate. Jennani Durai is an exciting new voice in literature, a writer to watch!” –Tayari Jones, multi-award-winning author of An American Marriage A teenager discovers his grandfather's secret identity only after his death. A young immigrant to 1940s Singapore is convinced the end-times are nigh. A man is tasked with bringing the corpse of his estranged brother home from Phuket. A reporter is torn between doing her a job and respecting her friend’s privacy. From obituaries and job ads to crime reports and horoscopes, Regrettable Things That Happened Yesterday is a collection of ten short stories connected by the motif of newspapers, and the unexpected ways they end up affecting our lives.


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Shortlisted for the 2018 Singapore Literature Prize for Fiction “The stories in this gorgeous collection are complex yet clear, heartbreaking yet hopeful, sharp-witted yet compassionate. Jennani Durai is an exciting new voice in literature, a writer to watch!” –Tayari Jones, multi-award-winning author of An American Marriage A teenager discovers his grandfather's secret iden Shortlisted for the 2018 Singapore Literature Prize for Fiction “The stories in this gorgeous collection are complex yet clear, heartbreaking yet hopeful, sharp-witted yet compassionate. Jennani Durai is an exciting new voice in literature, a writer to watch!” –Tayari Jones, multi-award-winning author of An American Marriage A teenager discovers his grandfather's secret identity only after his death. A young immigrant to 1940s Singapore is convinced the end-times are nigh. A man is tasked with bringing the corpse of his estranged brother home from Phuket. A reporter is torn between doing her a job and respecting her friend’s privacy. From obituaries and job ads to crime reports and horoscopes, Regrettable Things That Happened Yesterday is a collection of ten short stories connected by the motif of newspapers, and the unexpected ways they end up affecting our lives.

30 review for Regrettable Things That Happened Yesterday

  1. 5 out of 5

    Xueting

    The nine short stories in this collection look at secrets, pretense, betrayals, and how they affect our identity and relationships. Most of the main characters are diasporic Indians living in Singapore, Malaysia, the United States, and others, and the experience of being in between cultures and a minority race is also highlighted here. I really like Jennani Durai’s conversational writing style and voice—it’s not like the style I have encountered most short stories. The stories here are all engag The nine short stories in this collection look at secrets, pretense, betrayals, and how they affect our identity and relationships. Most of the main characters are diasporic Indians living in Singapore, Malaysia, the United States, and others, and the experience of being in between cultures and a minority race is also highlighted here. I really like Jennani Durai’s conversational writing style and voice—it’s not like the style I have encountered most short stories. The stories here are all engaging and I love the humour and wit. Some read like YA fiction, which made me realise most short stories out there are in the style of adult literary fiction. I love how Durai brings us close to the main characters through an empathetic and intimate voice, such that both major and seemingly minor things are given rather equal weight as events that alter the characters’ lives in unexpected ways.

  2. 4 out of 5

    aqilahreads

    regrettable things that happened yesterday is a collection of ten short stories connected by the motif of newspapers and the unexpected ways they end up affection our lives. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5. as someone whom is not really into short stories, this really blew my mind! i thoroughly enjoyed each and every of the stories & that rarely happens as i always find that my interest in reading short stories is always not consistent - there will be some stories that i dont enjoy, which will lose my interest in r regrettable things that happened yesterday is a collection of ten short stories connected by the motif of newspapers and the unexpected ways they end up affection our lives. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5. as someone whom is not really into short stories, this really blew my mind! i thoroughly enjoyed each and every of the stories & that rarely happens as i always find that my interest in reading short stories is always not consistent - there will be some stories that i dont enjoy, which will lose my interest in reading it further. i really love stories like never have i ever & body on board. very simple yet something that tugged at my heartstrings. im so glad that this was recommended by a friend, else, i wouldnt have known that this book even existed!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Wang

    I started and finishing reading Regrettable Things That Happened Yesterday today and it is SO GOOD - funny and poignant with clever turns of phrases and sharp insights on the cruelty of schoolyard fights and the pettiness of adult politics. Also written by Tamil Indian writer and the subtleties of being a minority in Singapore are intertwined with these characters. Please please read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    EH Ong

    This was a fun and enjoyable collection of short stories which I breezed through in a few hours and found myself longing for more when I was done. I enjoyed almost all the stories but if I had to pick a favourite, it would be the title story Regrettable Things, about a journalist forced to interview a friend on a family tragedy - a story I found both funny and poignant all at once. Coming a close second would be PG13, which had me chuckling at the author's ability to build so much tension and su This was a fun and enjoyable collection of short stories which I breezed through in a few hours and found myself longing for more when I was done. I enjoyed almost all the stories but if I had to pick a favourite, it would be the title story Regrettable Things, about a journalist forced to interview a friend on a family tragedy - a story I found both funny and poignant all at once. Coming a close second would be PG13, which had me chuckling at the author's ability to build so much tension and suspense on a seemingly trivial situation involving secondary school girl-clique-dynamics, and which brought back memories of my own school days. While reading both stories I found myself rooting for the protagonists, sharing their anxiety on the moral dilemmas they faced, and laughing at the author's touches of dry humour in depicting the absurdities of everyday life situations.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ns510

    “I close my eyes and allow myself to think about it all for a few seconds: Anita’s baby, my arm in a sling, Prakash’s body in Phuket, and how much I wish we could all start over.” This was a nice collection of interesting short stories featuring the Indian ethnic minority in Singapore, but also where they have travelled to other parts of the world. As with a lot of story collections, I liked some stories better than others. Interesting insights into a variety of everyday dynamics between the char “I close my eyes and allow myself to think about it all for a few seconds: Anita’s baby, my arm in a sling, Prakash’s body in Phuket, and how much I wish we could all start over.” This was a nice collection of interesting short stories featuring the Indian ethnic minority in Singapore, but also where they have travelled to other parts of the world. As with a lot of story collections, I liked some stories better than others. Interesting insights into a variety of everyday dynamics between the characters and the wider population around them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Veronica Eberlein

    What a charming selection of short stories! I got anxious, laughed, and enjoyed every part!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sadie-Jane Alexis Nunis

    Most stories were good... one or two were meh. Still a valiant effort for her first book

  8. 5 out of 5

    Roberta

    Very charming collection of short stories.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bavani Pillai

    Loved the candor and wit with which the stories were told! They definitely resonated, especially being a minority Singaporean - it was such a treat reading a piece of literature that I could personally connect with. Liked that the themes did not focus on the minority experience as one that was disempowering, but rather highlighted the interplay of human emotions with nuances within the Indian culture. How refreshing:)

  10. 5 out of 5

    mm

    I am an avid reader of short stories and Singapore literature and was looking forward to this collection. & I was a little disappointed, even as I started. Perhaps, given the excellent reviews and glowing blurbs by authors I respect and enjoy, gave me higher expectations than I should have had. It did build up better after the first story and there were some gems, but it still wasn't what I expected. I wanted more. Maybe I am wrong? A huge plus – having the Singapore Indian minority experience in I am an avid reader of short stories and Singapore literature and was looking forward to this collection. & I was a little disappointed, even as I started. Perhaps, given the excellent reviews and glowing blurbs by authors I respect and enjoy, gave me higher expectations than I should have had. It did build up better after the first story and there were some gems, but it still wasn't what I expected. I wanted more. Maybe I am wrong? A huge plus – having the Singapore Indian minority experience introduced to the Singapore canon by a talented young writer whom I think has far more to share with us. I am looking forward to reading more by Jennani Durai, especially if it is of the Singapore experience.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Letitia

    Verdict: 3.5 stars ----- STORIES ---- Funeral Gifts: 4 stars Inexplicably: 4 stars Yours Truly, Vimala: 3.5 stars Never Have I Ever: 3 stars Body on Board: 3 stars Revelation to Amala Rose: 3.5 stars The Employee’s Guide to Transporting Customers to Mexico: 4.5 stars PG-13: 3.5 stars Tenali Raman Redux: 3 stars Regrettable Things: 3.5 stars

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daniela Melo

    I was so sad when I finished this book. I enjoyed so much reading each story and the way they made me feel that I wish there were more of them. For me, the stories felt very relatable. Although most of the stories and characters are set around South East Asian life, which is very far from the state of Texas where I currently reside, I felt connected to the characters and their difficulties. There are many topics explored in the book but immigration, identity, and race are some of the ones that r I was so sad when I finished this book. I enjoyed so much reading each story and the way they made me feel that I wish there were more of them. For me, the stories felt very relatable. Although most of the stories and characters are set around South East Asian life, which is very far from the state of Texas where I currently reside, I felt connected to the characters and their difficulties. There are many topics explored in the book but immigration, identity, and race are some of the ones that resonated the most with me. As an immigrant myself, I was to able to relate to the adventures, hardships, and obstacles that come with moving to another country, it didn't matter that I am not of Indian descent or an immigrant in Singapur, the stories presented in this book are universal. Some stories, like "funeral gift" and "bodyguard" made me reflect on the unique hardships of immigration and dead. Although the stories are fictional they made me feel and realize that some of my own fears are not only my own but that there is an entire community of people in the world that struggle with life across countries, basically after reading those two stories I felt I was not alone or crazy. Other stories were inspirational like "Yours Truly, Vimala" were a teenage girl works really hard to get better at her craft and accomplish her dreams. It was truly a delight to read this book and I wish more people in similar immigrant circumstances could get their hands on it and enjoy it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ziqin Ng

    I picked up this book largely on a whim at [email protected], mainly because I had just returned a whole stack of books but had found nothing else to take home in exchange, and just didn't want to return home empty handed. The stories in this collection are centred on the Singaporean Tamil experience (though I didn't realise this properly until I started reading the first story) but I don't feel that this impacted my understanding or enjoyment of the stories even though I'm not ethnically Indian. I picked up this book largely on a whim at [email protected], mainly because I had just returned a whole stack of books but had found nothing else to take home in exchange, and just didn't want to return home empty handed. The stories in this collection are centred on the Singaporean Tamil experience (though I didn't realise this properly until I started reading the first story) but I don't feel that this impacted my understanding or enjoyment of the stories even though I'm not ethnically Indian. The themes and situations such as the cliques in 'PG-13', the narrator's relationship with his estranged brother in 'Body on Board', Ria's amusing experience waitressing in a Mexican restaurant were highly relatable and readers who want to read this but are hesitant to because they fear not being able to understand the context need not worry. The stories are clever and amusing and each narrator has his/her own unique voice despite all coming from the consciousness of the same author, something which I found remarkable! Favourite story: The Employee's Guide to Transporting Customers to Mexico Five stars: - Body on Board - The Employee's Guide to Transporting Customers to Mexico - Tenali Raman Redux Four stars: - Inexplicably - Regrettable Things - PG-13 Three stars: - Funeral Gifts - Yours Truly, Vimala - Never Have I Ever Two stars: - Revelation to Amala Rose

  14. 5 out of 5

    Graham Stoll

    Honestly, I could not put this book down! Jennani Durai is an incredible writer. Each one of these stories are unique but they all share the quality of being able to immediately grab your attention, wrap you up and transport the reader to the very place where the plot is unfolding before your eyes. Some of these stories will make you laugh and some will bring you to the verge of tears. My personal favorites were The Employees Guide to Transporting Customers to Mexico, Never Have I Ever (both wer Honestly, I could not put this book down! Jennani Durai is an incredible writer. Each one of these stories are unique but they all share the quality of being able to immediately grab your attention, wrap you up and transport the reader to the very place where the plot is unfolding before your eyes. Some of these stories will make you laugh and some will bring you to the verge of tears. My personal favorites were The Employees Guide to Transporting Customers to Mexico, Never Have I Ever (both were absolutely hilarious), PG13 (STRESSFUL AND TERRIFYING BUT SO SO GOOD) Tenali Raman Redux (heroic) and of course Regrettable Things. Do yourself a favor and buy this book outright. It's one I will revisit often myself and with each of my children whenever I am afforded the chance.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Prasatt

    Dark humour, irreverence and heart is abundant in Jennani Durai's collection of short stories. I could relate to them, if not through experience, at least in spirit, in a way that I had never been able to before. As a Singaporean Tamil, she brings her lived experiences to bear in a way, that does not alienate, but at the same time, infuses her stories and characters with authenticity. For once, I feel like I read something that speaks to a specific part of me that has not been addressed before, Dark humour, irreverence and heart is abundant in Jennani Durai's collection of short stories. I could relate to them, if not through experience, at least in spirit, in a way that I had never been able to before. As a Singaporean Tamil, she brings her lived experiences to bear in a way, that does not alienate, but at the same time, infuses her stories and characters with authenticity. For once, I feel like I read something that speaks to a specific part of me that has not been addressed before, at least in the works of writers who write in English.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shacolate

    Decent collection of short stories. As always with a collection like this, some stories are stronger than others.Author has a really easygoing way of writing which makes this immensely readable. While I liked that the link between the stories were subtle I appreciate that some folks may dislike it for that reason. Overall I enjoyed the short glimpses of the Singaporean South Asian experience that this book conveyed. Not sure I will remember the stories next year but am happy to have read them tod Decent collection of short stories. As always with a collection like this, some stories are stronger than others.Author has a really easygoing way of writing which makes this immensely readable. While I liked that the link between the stories were subtle I appreciate that some folks may dislike it for that reason. Overall I enjoyed the short glimpses of the Singaporean South Asian experience that this book conveyed. Not sure I will remember the stories next year but am happy to have read them today

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    READ THIS BOOK. Each story in it draws you in, with incredibly convincing voices for an assortment of very different characters. It deals in some heavy topics, but does so in a way that does not leave you feeling hopeless or defeated and brings in humor and a witty sense of observation about the world. The characters' struggles with identity, family and culture feel relatable to a wide range of audiences and are yet unique and poignant. Can't wait to see more of Durai's writing :) READ THIS BOOK. Each story in it draws you in, with incredibly convincing voices for an assortment of very different characters. It deals in some heavy topics, but does so in a way that does not leave you feeling hopeless or defeated and brings in humor and a witty sense of observation about the world. The characters' struggles with identity, family and culture feel relatable to a wide range of audiences and are yet unique and poignant. Can't wait to see more of Durai's writing :)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kamya Somasundaram

    ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS! It made me smile, it made me tear up, it made me laugh, it made me grip the book in tense suspense and most of all, it rekindled memories of my childhood and home. Jens writing style is so fresh and new- I’ve never come across anything like that. I was particularly impressed with her subtle, yet powerful sense of humour. All I have to say is, I can’t wait for the next book!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maya

    I always knew jen had a good and strong creative skill but it’s the first time I have read what she’s written and it has the power to create nostalgia , made me laugh out loud and appreciate all the “ordinary “ things that happen to us daily . I loved the short stories and I look forward to more from this incredible new author

  20. 4 out of 5

    Judith Huang

    Beautifully crafted stories with a wry sense of humour. The title story, about the ethics of being a journalist, is the stand out story but there really wasn’t a weak link in the whole collection. Durai’s observational skills, whether it’s of secondary school girl clique dynamics or ethnically ambiguous pseudo authentic hipster restaurants, are on point. More!!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nelson

    Good start to my year reading this book. Some of the stories were surprising. Some of them left me wanting more and some of them were just like "whaaaaat". Anyhoo, Jennani seems to be a very promising writer and hope to read more of her work in the future Good start to my year reading this book. Some of the stories were surprising. Some of them left me wanting more and some of them were just like "whaaaaat". Anyhoo, Jennani seems to be a very promising writer and hope to read more of her work in the future

  22. 4 out of 5

    Priyanka Sharma

    Quite short short stories. Loved them. Neither the writing nor the stories were extraordinary but they were very calming. Not much insightful but very breezy. The kind of writing you wish to read when you don’t want to use your brain much but still spend time doing something you don’t regret later.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anita Balakishnan

    Great collection of stories. Very refreshing to read stories from the point of view of a minority living in Singapore. Relatable, funny, emotive and overall a very enjoyable read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Norliza

    Loved every minute of it. Fresh easy read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Yolandamalaysia

    Has some interesting story lines, but quite juvenile. Does not resonate with me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Supriya

    lovely book of short stories set in singapore

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    I'm not a huge short stories fan. But I quite liked this one. (Recommended by a bookstore clerk in Singapore) I'm not a huge short stories fan. But I quite liked this one. (Recommended by a bookstore clerk in Singapore)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jibreel Chan

    A subtle resonant commentator of the equally vital fringes of our society.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shenn

    Reading these stories during commute made me sane. Such a nice collection!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Manibharathi

    Clever and witty. The tiny usual things which usually go unnoticed are beautifully written.

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