Friends of the Kookaburra - A Short Story by Elaine Chiew - from her debut collection, The Heartsick Diaspora - 2020
Gateway to Elaine Chiew on The Reading Life
Set in contemporary London,and told by Sansan, a Malaysian,she is shocked to be contacted by Irene. an American.They were best friends when attending a liberal arts college in New England. She has not heard from Irene for a long time. Irene is in London for a pharmaceutical conference and tracked down Sansan through the alumni network. Irene starts the conversation by asking her if since her divorce has she been involved with any men.? To Sansan this is intrusive.
She begins to think back on how close they were in college. Sansan was devastated when during Junior year, Irene seems to become best friends with another American girl. The longest segment of the story is devoted to a￼ hilarious dinner meetup between Sansan,Irene and Irene’s boyfriend. We learn quite a bit about their College years.
Irene is a collector of friends and lovers of a background diverse from her. I was pleasantly surprised by an r-rated interlude.
Irene has a travel blog and it was fun to hear about that, it is called
Friends of the Kookaburra.
This is the 11th story from The Heartsick Diaspora by Elaine Chiew upon which I have posted. I look Forward very much to the remaining three. I give this collection my highest endorsement.
Elaine is a writer and a visual arts researcher, and editor of Cooked Up: Food Fiction From Around the World (New Internationalist, 2015).
Twice winner of the Bridport Short Story Competition, she has published numerous stories in anthologies in the UK, US and Singapore.
Originally from Malaysia, Chiew graduated from Stanford Law School and worked as a corporate securities lawyer in New York and Hong Kong before studying for an MA in Asian Art History at Lasalle College of the Arts Singapore, a degree conferred by Goldsmiths, University of London.
Elaine lives in Singapore and her book, The Heartsick Diaspora, and other stories, was published by Myriad in 2020 as well by Penquin Books.