Nominated by:

National Library of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Publisher of nominated edition:

MPH Group Publishing, Malaysia

The Dulang Washer

Paul Callan      

2013 Longlist

Malaya, 1890 .. in the tin-mining camps of Perak’s Kinta Valley, only the strongest and bravest survive .. and the strongest and bravest of them all is Aisha, the beautiful solitary dulang washer who labours to support two families.

Fook sin, the mine’s treacherous, thieving proprietor, sees Aisha as his ultimate prize: the most desirable object he can add to his secret hoard of treasures.

Hun Yee, an ambitious young Hakka Chinese miner, shakes off the opium addiction that has insulated him from the harshness of his daily struggle and strives to win Aisha’s approval by starting a mine of his own.

But for Donald Redfern, overseer and the only European in the camp, Aisha comes to represent something even more important. The human contact she offers in the language lessons she gives him, and the small gestures of compassion she shows to the isolated, homesick man, fuel his dangerous obsession.

Meanwhile, Aisha herself is harbouring a secret. When events at the mine move towards their shocking conclusion, she is forced to re-examine her life. Confronted with the love of a man prepared to turn his back on his country for her, will she finally seize her chance of happiness?

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Paul Callan was born in Dublin, Ireland. His love of storytelling was fuelled while attending Chanel College in North Dublin. As a young man in London, he abandoned his first attempt at becoming a novelist in pursuit of a business career. After marrying his Malaysian wife, he visited Malaysia many times, and fell in love with the country and its people. He now divides his time between his homes in Kuala Lumpur and London. The Dulang Washer is his first novel.

Librarian’s Comments

This captivating story set in 1890 Malaya amidst the tin-mining camps of Perak’s Kinta Valley which only the strongest and bravest survive. The tale tells about Aisha, the strongest and bravest of them all, who is the beautiful solitary Malay dulang washer who labours to support two families.

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