Published in 2003, 1515 by Faisal Tehrani is a unique text within contemporary Malay literature. Among recent novels in Malaysia it is one of the most difficult readings, but probably the most refreshing and rewarding one. Perhaps it is also one of the most multifaceted narratives, with elements of romance, adventure, history, legend, postcolonial discourse, postmodernism, socio-political criticism, feminism, and even fantasy. Consequently, the novel also lends itself to various ways of reading: from the perspective of postcolonial, postmodern, socio-political, and feminist theories, or a blending of all of them. Although the novel appears to be postmodern and unique, it in fact is connected not only to postmodernism and magic realism (as associated with Carlos Fuentes and Gabriel Garcia Marquez), but perhaps more importantly it draws on a long established tradition of Malay folk literature, specifically the folk romance known as cerita penglipur lara (tales of soother of cares).
Yaapar, MD. Salleh, The empire strikes back: Re-Writing malay history and identity in Faisal Tehrani’s novel 1515, Kunapipi, 32(1), 2010.