Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction
Setting: Singapore in the early twentieth century.
First Sentence: I have always lived in the crumbling Kampong Glam Palace.
This novel is the story of an old house and the family that lived in it.
The old house is the Kampong Palace. The palace was given to the Sultan Hussein by the East India company many years ago. His family can live in the palace as long as a male decedent of the Sultan dwells there.
The family is the "draggle tailed extended family" of the narrator, Agnes. Agnes is the last decedent of the Sultan. Her elderly uncle is the last male decedent.
Now, the family has fallen on hard times. Unable to to afford to keep up the palace, they have to take in boarders.
Living in the palace with Agnes are her grandparents Nei Nei Up, Nei Nei Down, and British Grandfather, Uncle Chachi, and two servants.
The events of Agnes's story take place during her seventeenth year. We learn about her and each member of the family. We experience the happy times, and the sad times. And always at the back of everyone's mind is the thought that someday soon the family will lose the palace. And that is the main conflict of the story. Will they lose the palace, and what will happen to the family if they do?
The author has crafted a very enjoyable story. For me, it was a very pleasant read. Agnes is a delightful character. And her family is very unique and interesting. Reading this book was great fun.