Min Joon makes Leng a solemn promise before leaving to fight in the war against the Japanese and to free Singapore. He will return to her, and as a mark of their love, reunite the two halves of a pendant they each carry. After the war, they met again, but she was already married to another.
Fast forward 27 years. Leng’s daughter, Jeanette, in the process of publishing her book, The Implications that Memories of the War Held in Creating a National Identity, engaged in a series of interviews with Min Joon for his part in the Japanese Occupation and the Emergency period. The interviews led to an unravelling of a 30-year-old secret.
Rosie Wee’s debut novel grapples with the sweep of historical events that plunged Singapore and Malaya into war and struggle between 1942 and 1969. Her fictional characters blend seamlessly with real historical figures as events unfold and flesh out in dramatic scenes. The episodic plot, fraught with tension, violence, and danger, is balanced and tempered with joy, love, tenderness — the stuff of the human condition.
Praise for the book
The Heart Remembers is a rich and rewarding reading experience that elegantly, intelligently, and sensitively intertwines the vivid and poignant dramas of memorable individuals with the world-changing historical dramas of their times. An epic novel that reminds us that truth is found in the particular, not the general, and that we read to know that we are not alone.
— Mark Spencer, Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities,
Professor of Creative Writing, University of Arkansas, Monticello