The Once In A Lifetime (Paperback)
The Once In A Lifetime tells a non-linear story of two perennially single characters, Alex and Carol, living parallel lives, and looking for love. Set in Singapore, Bangkok, Thailand and Perth, Australia, both characters navigate the arduous dating world, often with hilarious, lewd and downright filthy encounters.
Alex is still hurting after being ghosted by the love of his life, a Ukrainian prostitute he met online, Lyna. Lyna whose mum has taken ill in Lviv, goes home to care for her and disappears from his life.
This throws Alex into an increasingly wild mental tailspin, which sees him temporarily falling madly in love with a Chinese snakehead and mamasan, and engaging in a disastrous tryst with an old flame. It takes him to church where he flirts inappropriately, and pushes his personal boundaries in Bangkok, Thailand.
All of his pursuits are futile attempts at hiding the vulnerability and the tenderness he has for Lyna. Alex, too proud and fearful to admit to himself that he loves her, proves to be the architect of his own descent into folly. He is the only one digging the pit of loneliness that he finds himself in.
Meanwhile Carol, charges through the dreary bleak dating landscape and tries to find him in the most unusual and sometimes, hopeless of places. She ends up attracting strangely controlling characters - office executives with mommy issues, a personal trainer with a micro penis and a gym rat who loses control too easily. We see Carol trawling through dive bars and a male host club, gyms, smoking corners, and the most austere place of all, Tinder to alleviate her loneliness and find her ideal companion.
Carol is one who struggles to find a balance between her romantic ideals and aspirations with the reality of modern dating in Singapore. As easy-going and fluid as she appears, she proves to be someone who is rigid in her expectations and boundaries. She is often unwilling to compromise on the standards of romance that she has learned through rock ballads, of a lovelorn Romeo crying for her at the base of a rain-soaked pedestal the lovers put her on. She wants to be desired even as she cannot stand the attention. She wants to be an object of desire even as she feels unfulfilled and incomplete. She wants to be the cause of the love-laced misery of a mere mortal so that she feels a certain godliness in her. That stubbornness and contradiction takes her on unfortunate misadventures, through no fault of her own, and sees her becoming increasingly untethered.