Fragile Creatures: A Memior

Fragile Creatures: A Memior


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Patrick's Review

Suicide, the American justice system, enduring love and resilience are some of the subjects of Fragile Creatures, by Perth-based writer Khin Mynit.  Myint’s story begins at school, where as a mixed-race child – he is Burmese-Australian - he experiences the anti-Asian attitudes of 1990s suburban Perth: physical violence and the psychological trauma that will follow him into adulthood. What helps him to survive is an intelligent awareness of the nature of suffering, even as he witnesses the anguish of his sister’s horrific, undiagnosed illness. It also enables him to deal with his sister’s request to take her own life; a decision that both he and their mother support. The sense of pain interwoven throughout this book is counterpointed by giving a voice to those who usually suffer in silence.

The darkness of the sister’s story is compounded by Myint’s struggle with ideas of masculinity. Travelling to New York to talk with his American ex-girlfriend, who wanted him to ‘be a man’ and ‘man up,’ he is confronted by her accusation that he’s a stalker. When she quickly mobilises the police and the judicial system, Mynint grapples with a sense of uncertainty about their relationship and about himself.

To be a mixed-race man who doesn’t fit the mould of stereotypical masculinity is difficult enough. To deal with these experiences with little support is all the more remarkable, and a testament to Khin Mynit’s mental and emotional fortitude.

Fragile Creatures is a confronting story, written with compassion, honesty and even humour. A challenging, insightful read.

Publisher’s Review 

Khin's sister Theda has a strange illness and a euthanasia drug locked in a box under her bed. Her doctor thinks her problem is purely physical, and so does she, but Khin is not so sure. He knows what they both went through growing up in Perth - it wasn't welcoming back then for a Burmese-Australian family.

With Theda's condition getting worse, Khin heads off to the United States. He needs to sort things out with his ex-partner. Once there, events take a very odd turn, and he finds himself in court.

This is a family story told with humour, wonderment and complete honesty. It's about care, truth and the hardest choices - and what happens when realities clash. How do we balance responsibility for others with what we owe ourselves? Fragile Creatures will sweep you up and leave you stunned at its power.

'The miracle of this book is the writer's tone- calm, patient and searching, steadfast in the face of unthinkable suffering' - Helen Garner, author of The Spare Room.

'Compelling and compassionate. Your heart will ache as you read Khin Myint's beautiful, poetic prose. Such wisdom and grace in these pages - an extraordinary story I will keep thinking about for a long time to come.' - Alice Pung, author of One Hundred Days.