Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Weird World Of Make-Believe Playmates

When I proofed the manuscript for this book, I thought the stories were kind of clever, albeit niche.

It reminded me of another similar collection by a more famous author, where I felt some of the stories were more ... cryptic. No such confusion in this collection, however.

Okay, makes a nice collectible, I thought, or a Christmas or birthday gift. A colleague, however, was more enthusiastic about it.

Turns out he's not alone - and the niche was larger than I'd thought.

First published as an e-book, Imaginary Friends: 26 Fables for the Kid in Us reached e-book platform Kobo’s list of top fifteen titles under several categories, including Short Stories and Humour.

And, apparently, it has also been picked up by various online vendors from around the world, including those in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary and Singapore.

Now, this best-selling e-book of witty, original fables targeted at teens and adults, is getting a print edition, with illustrations by Arif Rafhan.

Written by Singapore-based freelance writer Melanie Lee and published by MPH Digital (a subsidiary of MPH Group Publishing) in October 2013, Imaginary Friends may look like a typical children’s book at first glance.

But its sophisticated wit and references to modern society and pop culture make it an enjoyable read for those in the new market segment known as New Adult fiction. With Arif's artistic touches (that reminds one of the murals in Publika, Solaris Dutamas), it looks even more collectable.

In this collection of fables for grown-ups and grown-up minds, lessons about life, love, and the universe are imparted through vignettes in the lives of twenty-six zany characters (a few of which are tragically short), including an overachieving octopus, a yodelling yak, a vicious Vespa, a sleepy salmon and an upbeat umbrella.

Witness the downside of democracy in a tale of a jar of jelly beans; learn why being a sour grape doesn't pay; and see the power of memories held by an old quilt blanket, among other things.

Imaginary Friends is a departure for Lee, whose previous book was a non-fiction, spiritual title. "Many of the life lessons at the end of each story in Imaginary Friends are things I’d wished older folks had told me about when I was in my late teens and early twenties," says Lee.

Melanie Lee is a Singaporean freelance writer who specialises in travel and heritage, but dabbles in fiction in the wee hours. Her favourite imaginary friend was Janet, a pink water bottle she had when she was eight.

Arif Rafhan is a Malaysian creative director of a web design agency who loves to draw on anything – from dead-tree media to his computer monitor and his son’s bedroom wall. After all, goes his motto: “Why buy when you can create it yourself?” He is also the illustrator for the upcoming graphic novel, Adventures of a KL-ite in Afghanistan, written by Zan Azlee.

Imaginary Friends
26 Fables for the Kid in Us

Melanie Lee
MPH Group Publishing
83 pages
ISBN: 978-967-415-189-8

Buy from MPHOnline.com


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