Lake Like a Mirror | Granta

  • Published: 07/11/2019
  • ISBN: 9781846276903
  • 129x30mm
  • 208 pages

Lake Like a Mirror

Ho Sok Fong

Translated by Natascha Bruce

By an author described by critics as ‘the most accomplished Malaysian writer, full stop’. Lake Like a Mirror is a scintillating exploration of the lives of women buffeted by powers beyond their control. Squeezing themselves between the gaps of rabid urbanisation, patriarchal structures and a theocratic government, these women find their lives twisted in disturbing ways.

In precise and disquieting prose, Ho Sok Fong draws her readers into a richly atmospheric world of naked sleepwalkers in a rehabilitation centre for wayward Muslims, mysterious wooden boxes, gossip in unlicensed hairdressers, hotels with amnesiac guests, and poetry classes with accidentally charged politics – a world that is peopled with the ghosts of unsaid words, unmanaged desires and uncertain statuses, surreal and utterly true.

[Lake Like a Mirror's] striking, fluid translation has already won an English Pen Translates Award for Natascha Bruce...surreal and unheimlich in nature... the focus of the collection as a whole: the damage done to women denied a voice... Stunning

Irish Times

There's a surreal bent to many of the stories in Lake Like a Mirror... Beguiling and seasoned with striking imagery... Fascinating... Distilled strangeness


These tales follow different women whose lives are shaped and twisted by forces beyond their control. Atmospheric and occasionally dreamlike


The Author

Ho Sok Fong is the Malaysian author of two award-winning short story collections in Chinese, Maze Carpet and Lake Like a Mirror. She is currently working on a novel, The Forest in Full Bloom, supported by a Taiwan National Culture and Arts Foundation grant. In the summer of 2020 she moved from Malaysia to Taipei, where she teaches at Taipei National University of the Arts.

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The Translator

Natascha Bruce translates fiction from Chinese. Her work includes novels and story collections by Yeng Pway Ngon, Patigül, Ho Sok Fong and Can Xue. Her translation of Owlish by Dorothy Tse received a 2021 PEN/Heim grant. She lives in Amsterdam.

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Ho Sok Fong on

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

Notes on Craft

Ho Sok Fong

‘While writing we recover memories, recover moods, and we start to interpret them.’

Fiction | Granta 143

Lake Like a Mirror

Ho Sok Fong

‘If she’d swerved any harder, she would have crashed right into the lake.’ New fiction by Ho Sok Fong, translated from the Chinese by Natascha Bruce.