Home is where the heart is, so if you have no home, what happens to your heart?
This is a question Chai Mingzhi will ask himself again and again over the course of the nearly forty years The Mouse Deer Kingdom chronicles. “A run-away official from the Qing Court, which had supported the anti-foreigner rebels” during the turn-of-the-century Boxer Rebellion, Chai uses the last tatters of his imperial influence to help his family and closest friends escape to the Malay Peninsula.
At the outset of Chiew-Siah Tei’s long-awaited second novel, the travellers trade everything that is theirs to pay for passage on Captain Cochrane’s cargo ship, but nothing in Chai’s life comes easily, and the journey to Malacca is no exception. As gathering storms lay waste to a vessel never intended to carry passengers, we have, however, an opportunity to meet the Mingzhis.