Thursday, January 9, 2014

The idyllic life of rural Malaysia

Kampung Boy
Kampung Boy is a graphic novel I found while browsing the shelves of the library one day.  It caught my eye as it's about growing up in very small village in Malaysia and the author, Lat, is apparently one of Malaysia's best-loved comic artists.  This was enough to pull me in - I know nothing about life in Malaysia - and I settled in to a very happy hour reading about Lat's life.

The artwork in this book really matches the tone of the story.  It's light, episodic, and sweet, and the black and white images really lend themselves to bringing this to life.

Lat tells readers about everything from going fishing in the river to getting circumcised.  And his descriptions of his family members, while only telling us what is necessary for that particular story, make those characters come to life.  Helped, of course, by the illustrations.

There are hints of developments that reminded me of a very different book, 1493, as Lat described how much of the land around his kampung was being developed into rubber tree plantations.  There is also a large tin factory nearby, so life probably isn't as quiet as Lat's pictures make it out to be.

It's a very quick read, but no less enjoyable because of it, and I hope that I can find the sequel, in which Lat goes off to school in a bigger city.  I can see why this artist is so popular in his home country, and I'm glad that the book version of his comics is available for us in the West now, as he really is great fun.


  1. Nice! I want to get back in the groove of reading graphic novels from the library but I want to catch-up on what I own first. :)

  2. Replies
    1. His name is Lat. Sorry that is embedded in the post and not clearer.

  3. In having a look for a copy, I learned there are TWO more. Like I need another series to fall into...but this one sounds so interesting. Thanks!

    1. I know! I want to find the others. It makes sense as the book ends not on a "cliffhanger," but in a way that makes you know that there is a lot more that Lat has to share. And I want to see it!


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