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Sunday 16 November 2008

Malaysian Writer Fauzi Osman - My Lovely Omar River

November 17, 2008

by Suzan Abrams

*first blog on the web with this news

The literary agent and herself an author, Anna Olswanger of Liz Dawson Associates, New York City; is currently representing Malaysian writer Fauzi Osman - for a picture book with its heartfelt title: My Lovely Omar River - A Tale from Malaysia.

She describes his passionate story as a sensuous goodnight picture book told in the rich cadences of the author's Asian-flavored English.

Indeed it is. Performed additionally as an MP3 format by the *Shoofly players who present multicultural poetry, songs and storytelling as their forte; Fauzi's poetic rendition is being sold in their catalogue lists for 2008 and 2009.

Listening to the story, the narration appears to weave its way through the listener's heart like a quiet migratory fish intent on its journey. Great yearning lies in each word's gentle simplicity. The voice hides the sadness of a boy pleading for a memory he cannot retrieve in the present time. The gripping episode describes a boy in Muar who one day with his cousin, hastily grabs a notebook and without hesitation, answers the patient alluring call of a nearby river by dashing desperately to it.

It is easy to recognise the picturesque scene with its vivid description of branches and soft lapping sounds of water. The despondent boy holds a song in his heart for soon he must leave the river and go away. In forlorn mood, he promises never to forget it.

A listen catches the soul like an enchanting sonnet or fanciful serenade. I can well understand why Olswanger so aptly describes Osman's poignant, lyrical and tender writing as sensuous. The desperate boy is dramatic in his farewells. He presses his notebook to his chest as a lover would press a rose to the heart. He throws his beloved shirt into the river that it may have a keepsake.

A new age tune mixes the soothing sounds of a xylophone percussion and the gurgling murmurings of the river which altogether lends a strange tribal air to the little plot. In its bemoaning, the recital will surely tug at the heartstrings.

Fauzi says he wrote the book when he was a student at The University of Memphis and homesick for Malaysia. My Lovely Omar River came about when with the ease of a lilting rhythm, Fauzi started to visualise once more, the river near his grandparents' home.

Here is the Shoofly cast for Fauzi Osman's poetic narration of My Lovely Omar River but it also forms for a picture book being represented by Olswanger.

Performed by Karim Sadik and Amy Laird Webb who both take turns to read the tale. Also, directed by Sarah Froeber with music by Greg Decker.

*Shoofly is an award-winning audio magazine for children.

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