The Punkhawala and the Prostitute
Finalist for the 2021 Epigram Books Fiction Prize
Behind the golden façade of a land filled with opportunities dwell two destitute souls, shipped to Singapore in the late 1800s. Oseki, an ingenue forced into prostitution as a karayuki, grapples with being betrayed by her own father and transforms into a monster she can’t recognise. Gobind, a deaf convict from India, serves his sentence as a punkhawala to a British hunter obsessed with killing Rimau Satan, a man-eating tiger of mythic proportions. Whenever Gobind hunts with his master, his butchered memories lurk in the darkness, aching to pounce. When Oseki’s and Gobind’s paths intertwine, they begin to face their inner demons to find their humanity—and their way back home.