“Esther and I have been friends since our high school days at the Singapore American School. Even back then, I somehow knew that her life would turn out to be far from the ordinary. Esther has a restless nature, not content to take the usual path mapped out by most of our mothers, i.e. to graduate from college, marry a Singaporean man and start a family soon after. She was always curious and had an imaginative mind; Esther had great romantic notions and would day dream about being swept off her feet to some far away place by a dashing hero! Several years later when Esther was in college in Washington DC, she excitedly wrote to me about the man whom she had fallen in love with, a Libyan.
We did not see very much of each other in the years that followed, except for the few times when Esther visited her parents in Singapore. During these visits, she would tell me about her new life in Libya, which always intrigued me, and then during her last trip home, Esther related to me about the suspense and horror of her escape from Libya with her children.
In my mind at the time, Libya was so far away and foreign, and I must admit that I could neither fully comprehend nor grasp the intensity of the fear and terror of her circumstances then.
It is wonderful that Esther has finally told her story in a book, The Libyan. Through her keen eye, perception and sensitivity, Esther has brilliantly narrated her life in Libya - new environment and experiences, her great and passionate love for her husband and his warm close knit family; this was followed by the terror and fear of living under the Ghaddafi regime; and finally, her harrowing escape from Libya with her children.
This book holds many wonderful memories for me, and it is so fascinating yet so full of suspense that i could not put it down until i got to the end. Having finished reading it, I am now able to finally fill in the gaps between all the events about which Esther had tried to tell me during her few intermittent visits to Singapore.
My friend Esther is indeed an extraordinary woman who has led an extraordinary life. And i am happy that she has found in her heart to forgive and is at peace with herself."Ei-Ling Tan, 2016.