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y separately published work icon Behind the Moon single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 2005... 2005 Behind the Moon
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Justin Cheong, Tien Ho and Nigel Gibbo' Gibson have been best friends since school in a world divided along ethnic lines into skips, wogs and slopes. Together they've survived a suburban tragedy, compulsory karaoke nights and Justin's mother's obsession with clean toilets. They thought they would always be there for each other but they hadn't counted on the effects of jealousy, betrayal, and their desire to escape themselves.

'Ho Ly-Linh, Tien's mother, wasn't around for much of Tien's childhood. Left behind in a rapidly changing Vietnam, she risked everything to follow her family to Australia. Having spent so much of this dangerous journey alone, she is ready now to find love. On Saturday, 6 September 1997 they all meet at the Cheongs' house for the first time in years because Princess Diana is dead and their mothers have decided to hold a Dead Diana Dinner to watch the funeral on television. Nobody realises just how explosive this dinner will be, or how complicated life is going to get.

'This is a story of three families' discovery of the meaning of love and friendship.' [Source: publisher's website]


  • Dedication: For Thi Kim Uyen Truong - the best friend anyone could hope to have-and in memory of my late cousin, Raelene Hui Hoon Teo (1977-2004), who was much loved by family and friends, and who died during the writing of this novel.
  • Epigraph: A hundred years-in this life span on earth
    talent and destiny are apt to feud.
    You must go through a play of ebb and flow
    and watch such things as make you sick at heart.
    Is it so strange that losses balance gains?...
    By lamplight turn these scented leaves and read
    a tale of love recorded in old books.
    ( The Tale of Kieu, Nguyen Du)

Affiliation Notes

  • Associated with the AustLit subset Australian Literary Responses to 'Asia' as the work contains Asian characters.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Crows Nest, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Allen and Unwin , 2005 .
      Extent: 372p.
      ISBN: 1741142431
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      United States of America (USA),
      Soho Press ,
      2007 .
      Extent: 372p.
      ISBN: 9781569474402

Other Formats

  • Also braille, e-book.

Works about this Work

‘I Protest, Therefore I Am’ : Cosmo-Multiculturalism, Suburban Dreams, and Difference as Abjection in Hsu-Ming Teo’s Behind The Moon Emily Yu Zong , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Intercultural Studies , vol. 37 no. 3 2016; (p. 234-249)
'The Malaysian Australian writer Hsu-Ming Teo’s novel Behind the Moon depicts how conventional racism in multicultural Australia is re-enacted as a kind of cultural racism via the differentiation between a normative white culture and essentialised ethnic cultures. In particular, the novel portrays class as a cultural component mobilised to privilege middle-class and cosmo-multicultural culture over working-class and suburban culture. Such discursive shifts highlight the dynamic definition of minority status while, at the same time, reveal the limits of the imagined nation presumed as white. In my close reading of Teo’s narrative, ethnic subjects are captivated in a dialectic of protestation-abjection whereby old and new forms of cultural myths reproduce stereotyped difference and disarticulate ethnic self-delineation. The ideal of cosmo-multiculturalism, with its premise on a consumerist logic, immobilises difference as a fetishised object to be hailed, performed, savoured, but ultimately spat out undigested. Elaborating on contradictions within an ideology of liberal multiculturalism, I illustrate how the novel constitutes a re-signifying project that presents difference and abjection as transformative sources of national legitimacy.' (Publication abstract)
(Not) Being at Home: Hsu Ming Teo’s Behind the Moon (2005) and Michelle de Kretser’s Questions of Travel (2012) Janet Wilson , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Postcolonial Writing , December vol. 52 no. 5 2016; (p. 545-558) Mediating Literary Borders : Asian Australian Writing 2018; (p. 19-32)
'This article examines some interventions of Asian Australian writing into the debate over multiculturalism, and the shift from negative stereotyping of Asian migrants, to reification of racial divisions and propagation of a masked racism, to the creation of new alignments and the revival of pre-existing affiliations by migrant and second-generation subjects. It compares the practices of not-at-homeness by Asian migrants and their descendants and white Australians in Hsu Ming Teo’s Behind the Moon with those of a Sri Lankan refugee and a white Australian traveller in Michelle de Kretser’s Questions of Travel. The changing concepts of belonging in the novels show a realignment of core and periphery relations within the nation state under the pressures of multiculturalism and globalization: where home is and how it is configured are questions as important for white Australians whose sense of territory is challenged as they are for Asian migrants who seek to establish a new belonging.' (Publication summary)
Identity and Friendship in Hsu-Ming Teo´s Behind the Moon (2000) Caty Ribas , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Coolabah , no. 16 2015; (p. 112-121)
' In her second novel, Behind the Moon (2000), Hsu-Ming Teo explores the identity construction of three teenage friends and how they defy the notion of the "ideal‟ Australian as a heterosexual, Protestant, white, English-speaking, Australian-born of British ancestry young adult person. Set in the western suburbs of Sydney in the 1990s, the three friends are an example of the multicultural society of the time: Justin Cheong, the son of a Chinese-Singaporean family who arrived in Australia with the Business Migration Programme; Tien Ho, a refugee girl of Chinese-Vietnamese and Afro-CajunCreole-American ancestry; and Nigel „Gibbo‟ Gibson, the son of an Anglo-Australian father and an English mother. The novel tackles different relations among these characters and their families during their teenage years and especially as young adults. This paper seeks to analyse the evolution of the identities of Justin, Tien and „Gibbo‟ through the notions of belonging, gender construction and sexuality. In order to do so, the main theories applied will be the insights on homosexuality and on masculinities of Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli (1995) and Raewyn W. Connell (1995) and Manuel Castellsʼ (2010) identity construction theory.' (Publication abstract)
y separately published work icon Representations of Memory and Identity in Chinese Australian English Novels Supervisor Beibei Chen , Canberra : 2015 18594841 2015 single work thesis

'This thesis argues that one of the main characteristics of contemporary Chinese Australian literature in English language is its heavy focus on memory and identity. In order to prove this claim, the thesis analyses five English-language novels written by Chinese Australian writers from the period 1990-2010.'

Source: Thesis abstract.

The Stranger Flâneuse and the Aesthetics of Pedestrianism Isabel Carrera-Suarez , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Interventions : International Journal of Postcolonial , January vol. 17 no. 6 2015; (p. 853-865)
'While the realities of the global city would seem to render the century-old, modernist figure of the flâneur (and the disputed flâneuse) obsolete, embodied citizens and narrators have stubbornly survived the change in urban environments and their imaginaries, continuing to populate novels and mediate creation and writing. These postcolonial, post-diasporic pedestrians, however, necessarily occupy a different place in the real and fictive worlds, and must be conceptualized and named differently, in keeping with modified urban discourses and genres. Looking at a selection of novels written by women in the early years of the twenty-first century (set in Toronto, Sydney, Singapore and London), this essay contends that contemporary urban, post-diasporic texts create embodied, located pedestrians, rather than detached flâneurs; such figures, exceeding the resistant walkers imagined by Michel de Certeau, are closer to what the visual critic Marsha Meskimmon proposed as ‘an aesthetics of pedestrianism’, a poetics involving the body as a site of learning and border negotiation, through which the stranger fetishism described by Sara Ahmed may be destabilized and contested.' (Publication abstract)
Untitled Graeme Moore , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Bookseller & Publisher , August vol. 85 no. 2 2005; (p. 24)

— Review of Behind the Moon Hsu-Ming Teo , 2005 single work novel
The Secret Life of OZ Peter Pierce , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 23 August vol. 123 no. 6484 2005; (p. 68-69)

— Review of Sandstone Stephen Lacey , 2005 single work novel ; Road Story Julienne Van Loon , 2004 single work novel ; Behind the Moon Hsu-Ming Teo , 2005 single work novel ; The Grave at Thu Le Catherine Cole , 2005 single work novel ; Fivestar Mardi McConnochie , 2005 single work novel ; Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living Carrie Tiffany , 2003 single work novel
Engaging Shine in Twists of Reflections Diane Stubbings , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 27 August 2005; (p. 17)

— Review of Behind the Moon Hsu-Ming Teo , 2005 single work novel
Two Tales of Home and Longing Nicola Robinson , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 3-4 September 2005; (p. 21)

— Review of Behind the Moon Hsu-Ming Teo , 2005 single work novel
Grappling with Displaced Identities Liam Davison , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 10-11 September 2005; (p. 10)

— Review of Behind the Moon Hsu-Ming Teo , 2005 single work novel
Interview with Tsu-Ming Tao Hoa Pham (interviewer), 2005 single work interview
— Appears in: Peril : An Asian-Australian Journal , June no. 1 2006;
Boutique Multiculturalism and the Consumption of Repulsion : Re-Disseminating Food Fictions in Malaysian and Singaporean Diasporic Novels Tamara S Wagner , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Journal of Commonwealth Literature , vol. 42 no. 1 2007; (p. 31-46)
This article argues that representations of repulsion and disgust regarding food in recent Singaporean and Malaysian fiction is reflective of 'the growing unease caused by the commercial and ideological exploitation of consumable multiculturalism' (32). The author reads the work of Hsu-Ming Teo, as well as that of Vyvyanne Loh and Josephine Chia to demonstrate how 'ironic displays of repulsive food' may 'counter Orientalization' (45).
'No Place Like Home' : The Ambivalent Rhetoric of Hospitality in the Work of Simone Lazaroo, Arlene Chai, and Hsu-Ming Teo Deborah L. Madsen , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Intercultural Studies , February vol. 27 no. 1-2 2006; (p. 117-132)
This essay addresses the 'neither here nor there' rhetoric of not belonging in Anglophone Chinese Australian literature.
'Growing up an Australian' : Renegotiating Mateship, Masculinity and 'Australianness' in Hsu-Ming Teo's Behind the Moon Robyn Morris , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Intercultural Studies , February vol. 27 no. 1-2 2006; (p. 151-166)
This essay focuses on the way in which the films Gallipoli (1981) and The Wizard of Oz (1939) are deployed in the novel, Behind the Moon (2005). Morris suggests that such a reading points to the 'collision between discourses of masculinity, mateship, nationhood and race' thereby providing a 'timely intervention in the debate about national identity'.
Food, Race and the Power of Recuperative Identity Politics within Asian Australian Women's Fiction Robyn Morris , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , December vol. 32 no. 4 2008; (p. 499-508)
'This article considers the link between consumption, cuisine and agency in fiction by Asian Australian writers, Hsu-Ming Teo, Simone Lazaroo and Lillian Ng. It argues that the issue of whether these writers employ an oppositional poetics during the process of textualising or fictionalisng their experience and reactions to racialised and gendered practices can be addressed through an evaluation of their deployment of the food metaphor. In other words, do these writers challenge the assumption of a monolithic national identity in which Australian multiculturalism is equated with eating or tasting but disavowing the other?' (499)
Last amended 29 Sep 2011 11:56:24