The Gatekeeper by Nuraliah Norasid
Winner of the 2016 Epigram Books Fiction Prize
Winner of the 2018 Singapore Book Award for Best Fiction and Cover Design
Shortlisted for the 2018 Singapore Literature Prize for Fiction
Young medusa Ria turns an entire village of innocents to stone with her gaze. She flees with her older sister for the underground city of Nelroote, where Manticura's quasi-fantastical sapient races—Scereans, Tuyuns, Feleenese, Cayanese—live on the margins. There she takes up her role as gatekeeper, protecting the city from threats, Human or otherwise.
Decades later, Manticura is now a modern urban city-state, and Eedric Shuen is bored with his privileged life. He stumbles upon the entrance to Nelroote and encounters Ria, who has spent nearly half a century in solitude. As their friendship blossoms, external whispers of the medusa sisters threaten to spark a chain of events that will throw Nelroote and its inhabitants into imminent danger.