Now You See Us by Balli Kaur Jaswal
For a look at the lives of domestic workers in Sinagpore, for slow character studies and secrets
A veteran domestic worker, Corazon had retired back to the Philippines for good, but she has returned to Singapore under mysterious circumstances. Now she’s keeping a secret from her wealthy employer, who is planning an extravagant wedding for her socialite daughter.
Barely out of her teens, this is Donita’s first time in Singapore, and she’s had the bad luck to be hired by the notoriously fussy Mrs. Fann. Brazen and exuberant, Donita’s thrown herself into a love affair with an Indian construction worker and started a lively social media account that says more than it should.
Working as an in-home caregiver for an elderly employer, Angel is feeling blue after a recent breakup with the woman she loves. She’s alarmed when her employer’s son suddenly brings in a new Filipina nurse who may be a valuable ally, or who may be meant to replace her.
Then an explosive news story shatters Singapore’s famous tranquility—and sends a chill down the spine of every domestic worker: Flordeliza Martinez, a Filipina maid, has been arrested for murdering her female employer. The three women don’t know the accused well, but she could be any of them; every worker knows stories of women who were scapegoated or even executed for crimes they didn’t commit.
Shocked into action, Donita, Corazon, and Angel will use their considerable moxie and insight to piece together the mystery of what really happened on the day Flordeliza’s employer was murdered. After all, no one knows the secrets of Singapore’s elite like the women who work in their homes.
I probably would’ve stopped reading this if I hadn’t already been most of the way through. By about 75% I was determining that there genuinely just wasn’t much happening in this book. It’s more about learning a bit about each person than about things happening. Yes, there’s a subplot of a murder mystery, but it felt very unimportant to me for the majority of the book. So if you come into this, come into it expecting an almost diary-like portrayal of three women’s lives.Continue reading “Review: Now You See Us by Balli Kaur Jaswal”