3.43 (1,278 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?


'Remarkable' Ian McEwan

Shortlisted for Hearsts' Big Book Award 2018.

Set in 2003 in the sweltering heat of Singapore, Sharlene Teo's Ponti begins as sixteen-year-olds Szu and Circe develop an intense friendship. For Szu it offers an escape from Amisa, her beautiful, cruel mother - once an actress, and now the silent occupant of a rusty house. But for Circe, their friendship does the opposite, bringing her one step closer to the fascinating, unknowable Amisa.

Seventeen years later, Circe finds herself adrift and alone. And then a project comes up at work, a remake of the cult seventies horror film series `Ponti', the same series that defined Amisa's short-lived film career. Suddenly Circe is knocked off balance: by memories of the two women she once knew, by guilt, and by a lost friendship that threatens her conscience . . .

Longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2019.
Shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Fiction, with a Sense of Place Award.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 129 x 197 x 22mm | 218g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main Market Ed.
  • 1509855335
  • 9781509855339
  • 58,605

Review Text

Remarkable . . . her characters glow with life and humour and minutely observed desperation Ian McEwan
show more

Review quote

The story, told with dark humor by an exciting new voice, navigates the intricacies and weirdness of human connections, and the impressions they leave behind * Huffington Post * On their own, Teo's sharp characterizations and setting-so alive that the book seems to create its own, humid microclimate-would set this book apart. Add to that her imaginative plot, prose that turns from humor to devastation on a dime, and original storytelling, and Ponti is a beyond-promising debut. * Booklist (starred review) * Ponti by Sharlene Teo is a sultry, hilarious dissection of mother-daughter relationships, and the effect of time and teenagehood on friendships, against the backdrop of Singapore B-movies. It oozes confidence. -- Nikesh Shukla * Guardian, Best summer books 2018 * Funny, achingly dark and drawn with scalpel-like precision, Ponti is one of the wittiest debut novels of 2018 * The Pool * Exquisite, lush and menacing . . . the Singapore in Sharlene Teo's Ponti is vivid and immediate, its people complex, beautifully sketched and captivating . . . colourful and bewitching * TLS * Ponti's cultural commentary and multi-generational chorus of voices do indeed recall White Teeth [by Zadie Smith], while its unflinching depiction of young female friendship echoes Smith's most recent, Swing Time . . . by the time the novel has finished, there is no denying Amisa's dream has been realised. These three women and their stories will live on; they have been made immortal. * Independent Ireland * You know those books you can read again? And again? And again? Well, prepare for Sharlene Teo's incredible Ponti . . . a densely layered story of a fading horror actress, Amisa; her unhappy teenage daughter, Szu and her acid-tongued best friend, Circe, which jumps from generations, decades and viewpoints, weaving in unsettling myths to boot . . . entrancing . . . A modern gem * Emerald Street * Teo's portrait of Singapore is so good it would not be a surprise if Ponti were a contender for the next Ondaatje Prize, awarded to a work that best evokes "spirit of a place". People talk about "the great American novel", or, in Britain, "the state of the nation novel". Ponti is a great Singaporean novel, and a marvelous investigation of the state of the tiny island nation * South China Morning Post * A sticky, atmospheric tale of resentment and loneliness * Tatler * Ponti is darkly hilarious. It offers up all the anxiety, snark, sadness, and wonder of being a teenager. Teo guides us through the grunge of growing up. She asks what it means to be a monster and what it means to be beautiful. Is it possible to be both? -- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You The loneliness of adolescence is a monstrosity manifesting in equally ugly and poetic ways. Ponti is a weird and beautiful bildungsroman and Teo's writing shines as totally radical * The Skinny * Spanning 17 years and told from the perspectives of all three women, Ponti is a stunning first novel with a wry, rebellious heart * AnOther * Strange and compelling . . . a breath of fictional fresh air -- Shena Mackay, Kate Summerscale, and Owen Sheers, judges of the Deborah Rogers Writers Award Teo's debut stands out from the crowd . . . the offbeat charm of this lush tale proves a stealthy delivery mechanism for a quiet tragedy of intergenerational misunderstanding * Metro * Vivid, disquieting * Daily Mail * Haunting . . . Sharlene Teo is a daring and genuinely original novelist -- Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You Witty, moving and richly evocative . . . Sharlene Teo has produced not just a singular debut, but a milestone in South East Asian literature -- Tash Aw, author of Five Star Billionaire A startlingly poetic and impressive debut * Independent * One of the most exciting books I have read in ages . . . as funny as it is strange, it is complex as it is light . . . it deserves prizes -- Nikesh Shukla A vivid coming-of-age debut . . . seamless . . . Teo is brilliant in her portrayal of teenage anxiety * Guardian * An unforgettable story of female friendship * Elle Magazine * Ponti is one of the more assured debuts I've read recently . . . it's the rare, real deal and Teo's a writer we'll be reading for many years to come * Financial Times * A triumph: a nuanced examination of betrayal and grief, memory and the corrupting effects of beauty * Sunday Times * A radiant, achingly beautiful novel about relationships between women -- Megan Hunter, author of The End We Start From Remarkable . . . her characters glow with life and humour and minutely observed desperation -- Ian McEwan
show more

About Sharlene Teo

Sharlene Teo was born in Singapore in 1987. She has an LLB in Law from the University of Warwick and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she received the Booker Prize Foundation Scholarship and the David TK Wong Creative Writing award. She was shortlisted for the Berlin Writing Prize and holds fellowships from the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation and the University of Iowa International Writing Program. In 2016, she won the inaugural Deborah Rogers Writer's Award for Ponti, her first novel.
show more

Rating details

1,278 ratings
3.43 out of 5 stars
5 14% (174)
4 35% (441)
3 37% (468)
2 12% (155)
1 3% (40)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X