Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Sometimes a book makes you forget everything: the water boiling on the stove for tea, lunch or dinner that has cooled down longer. These books don’t just attract you; they hang over the edges of your consciousness, cultivating a new reality into which you can slip as easily as into an old T-Shirt. Zen Cho’s Black Water Sister is a unique book of its kind. He plunges readers headlong into the often troubled and normal sarcastic mind of Jess Teoh, a new Harvard graduate who has a lot more on her plate than just finding opportunities to win.

When Black Water sister opens, Jess is driving. She lives with her parents and helps them move from the United States to Malaysia, a country she hasn’t had since she walked. Then the voices begin. Or rather, only one voice: that of her expired grandmother, Ah Ma, a woman Jess has never met. Ah Ma is forgiven for getting Jess’s help to damage a real estate developer who is threatening to demolish a local temple dedicated to God Ah Mas. Although Jess resists, she realizes that the spirit world will not let go of her as easily as before. When she is forced into a world of media, gods and spirits, Jess must face the possibility of losing not only her Autonomy, but also her life.

While Black Water Sister frighteningly depicts the extreme and frightening horrors of the spirit world, she is also funny and poignant, full of fear and Irony of a “Zillennial” living with her parents. This balance allows Cho to explore facets of Jess’s life that, on a cosmic level, might be smaller than the desirable gods and vengeful spirits, but no less important. From Jess’s inner struggle over how (and if) to come to her parents’ house to intra-family disobedience about Religion, Black Water Sister examines the developing relationships of an entire family, not just those of a character.

Fans of the royal duology of the Wizard of Cho may not see the similarity between their Regency-era romantic fantasy and this modern mix of horror and the supernatural. But it is there, in the twists and turns of Cho and his deputies, that it contains a world so real that it feels like we can talk. And like the alternative England of royal magic novels, this world will surprise you when you least expect it. Black Water Sister is an American television series.

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