By Clarissa Cheang
This collection of short stories is gripping flash fiction that highlights the relationships between men and almost everything, be it a lover, an object or even passion.
The stories often deal with lost and irretrievable moments as the author has a strong interest in the injured brain and damaged memories.
This book marks Justin Ker’s debut as a writer. A medical doctor at the National Neuroscience Institute, Singapore, Ker received the National Arts Council’s Emerging Artists Grant in 2005.
The brilliant questions interwoven in his stories are unexpected, but very identifiable to the readers. Some of these questions seem to have no answers; the purpose is to remind the readers of their own lives. Most of his stories end off with no conclusion as well, leaving the readers to ponder about the unaddressed issues.
Ker has a unique ability to create figurative meanings with the help of science, to better illustrate his message in each story. In the short story, Open Reduction, Internal Fixation, an old woman’s fractured bone is a result of the scars that her son has left her. Even if she cannot remember the details anymore, her bone never heals. Her condition illustrates the fact that painful memories will always leave behind scars that no surgery can fully remove.
Ker’s stories are fresh and unpredictable, making the book a page turner. He never fails to surprise each tale with a different voice and mood, along with twists and sudden juxtapositions. In the short story, The House That She Built, a blind woman takes care of her husband who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. However, readers will be shocked at discovering why she feels satisfied in doing so.
Yet, some of the surprises may become a drawback for some readers as certain plot lines lean towards a more uncomfortable and darker genre.
Nonetheless, The Space Between the Raindrops trickles an insightful read for those who are willing to weather the thought-provoking storm to expand their horizon.