A Different Sky

Published by Harvill Secker/Random House, London 2010.
Book of the Month – Waterstones (UK) Cardholder’s July Book Circle choice – 2010.
Oprah Winfrey’s recommended reading list for November 2011.
Long listed for the Impac Dublin literary award 2012.
Beginning in Singapore’s first communist riot in 1927 and set against the years before the colony achieved full independence, the novel follows the lives of three families caught up in tumultuous times.

Mei Lan comes from a famous Chinese dynasty but yearns to free herself from stifling traditions of submission and become a modern woman.  Eurasian Howard is filled with anger against his colonial masters who ignore a man’s merit and limit his hopes of betterment. Raj, fresh off the boat from India, wants only to work hard and become a successful businessman. When Singapore falls to the Japanese, and the country suffers the terrors of occupation, Mei Lan, Howard and Raj are thrown together in unexpected ways. Later, in the growing violence of post war Singapore, when history sits on the knife-edge, they are tested further.

Chand proves herself a master of the modern Asian epic in this tale …she endows her characters with humanity and complexity, …grounding …their histories in solid research, and she offers a credible, compelling panorama of the tragedy and resilience, culture and individuality, political evolution, dissolution, and renaissance of 20th-century Singapore.

Publishers Weekly, starred review, September 2011


A sweeping novel … A Different Sky is a fully engaging experience. The protagonists are richly and deeply drawn, the sights, sounds, and smells of Singapore are gorgeously rendered, and the principal characters’ interwoven stories combine to form a compelling narrative… Chand’s extensive knowledge of Singapore’s eccentricities brilliantly colors the novel, adding an indelible layer of authenticity to the central stories… an emotionally satisfying and historically enlightening experience.



…a panoramic page-turner…The epic sweep..[of]…this meticulously researched book is alive with engrossing detail…

The Guardian 2nd October 2010


…puts Singapore on the literary map.



A Different Sky is historical fiction at its most complex and engaging… Chand balances the communist groupings, Japanese occupation and emerging nationalism with skill… As history A Different Sky is engrossing: as fiction, highly enjoyable.

Literary Review June 2010


…sweeping Singapore drama…an ambitious look at the effects of political upheaval upon a generation…an illuminating and interesting book.

Waterstone’s Books Quarterly Summer 2010


…[an] extraordinary book…I thoroughly recommend it.

Daily Mail 23rd July 2010