Meira Chand’s new novel starts and ends with a riot. In between them (the first outside a police station in 1927, the second on an airfield in 1956) lie almost thirty years of political turmoil, war and occupation, during which Chinese, Indians, Malays and Eurasians struggle to bring independence to the small British colony of Singapore. A Different Sky is historical fiction at its most complex and engaging.
Six main characters from Singapore’s distinct and divided communities carry the narrative forward. There is Mei Lan, the daughter of a rich Chinese business family, and Howard, the Eurasian son of Rose, who owns a boarding house for Europeans working in the city and has suffered all her