Music in The River’s Song by Suchen Christine Lim

Qi Feng LIN

Abstract


I focus on the music metaphor in Suchen Christine Lim’s novel The River’s Song, which is set in the river community on the Singapore River prior to its “clean up” by the government during the 1980s. The Chinese classical music in the novel reflects the Chinese vernacular character of the community, which had a close relationship with the river. This music is one of many sounds of this community, the sum of which can be interpreted as a metaphorical music that reflects the human-river relationship and the resulting ecology of the river. While music can be transplanted from its place of origin, such as the transplantation of Chinese classical music from China to Singapore, the metaphorical music of a place is unique to the locale, which I use to analyse the impact of development on the river community and the environment.

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@Journal of Ecocriticism. ISSN 1916-1549