Over the forthcoming month of February 2011 I shall be in Thailand, so posts might become a bit spasmodic for that period of time. I will however be doing my best to keep them coming from various internet cafe’s around Thailand. One thing for sure is there will be a shortage of photos in the posts over the month of February 2011, but I will update with photos when back in the UK.
Over the last couple of years I have taken up the challenge of reading more Thai script novels to improve my Thai language ability and missed out on a lot of English written novels about the region of South east Asia. I will make a concerted effort to read some of the latest stuff from the latest movers and shakers in the fiction world of the area. In fact I first need to re acquaint myself with who the movers and shakers are at the moment.
I never talk about anything I haven’t read, but have a list of books to buy and read whilst in Thailand. This can be difficult as I will be doing a lot of research and writing over there myself. I plan also to continue my Thai script reading. I have had some great tips from Susan Fulop Kepner on products to get, Susan translated one of my favourite books ” Letters from Thailand” and I will pick up a copy of ”The Lioness in bloom” this time as well.
Next stop Bangkok
I also intend to pick up some of the work by author Tim Hallinan an American who splits his time between the States and Southeast Asia, in particular Thailand. Published work of Tim’s include ”A nail through the heart”, ”The Fourth Watcher” (apparently this is a very popular novel), ”Breathing Water” and ”The Queen of Patpong”. I am looking forward to reading some of Tim’s work.
Finally and of course I shall also be checking out further books of one of my favourite authors Christopher G. Moore, having seen Christopher’s books on the book shelves in Thailand for many years.
I have in fact just finished a novel by Christopher G. Moore called ”Waiting For The Lady” a thoroughly enjoyable read and another classic from a very talented writer. Christopher seems to average a book a year for the 22 years he has lived in Thailand and that is some achievement. Time is split between half the year researching for the book and the other half writing it.
China Town Bangkok
Waiting for the lady is in actual fact is based in Burma (or of course now Myanmar). Perhaps I struggle with change as Burma still sounds so much better to me or it could be an age thing. The novel is full of passion, very amusing in places and sometimes sad, but never dull.
I want to pick up more on the cultural aspect of the book, rather than the story line. However the story line is based around two old friends called Sloan and Hart, an Artist and a Writer/Pool room hustler of Bangkok bars going to Burma to carry out a promise made to return some photos strangely found by Sloan to a lady. In between they hope to create a fortune by uncovering ming china and are joined by Sarah a lady writing a PHD on body tattoos of the chin people.
Politics of the area, but not too heavy, history of the area, the right amount to be informed and some fantastic childhood reflections and walks down memory lane from the main characters.
Having spent a lot of time in Southeast Asia myself I especially enjoy the way Christopher Moore blends the different cultures and characters in the book. It is his knowledge of the region and the regions cultures that keep me enthralled throughout. Although set in Burma, you get insights in to the cultures of the Burmese, the Thai, the Japanese, the Americans and the British.
The usual Sukhumvit Road traffic jam Bangkok
Being an English man and having been married to a Thai woman for 100 years, I mean 24 years, I love those cross cultural break down moments and believe me they can happen in an instant. Christopher Moore has always had the knack of capturing them superbly.
The sort of thing I am referring to is the Westerner flying off the handle then wishing he had not. One of my favourite parts that left me roaring with laughter, because I could relate to it so well was when Sloan married to a Japanese woman arrives home with loads of shopping. Sloan the American loved to do the cooking and dutifully with warmth in his heart ventures out to get all the ingredients required to cook for himself and his wife.
Sloan returns and gets out of the taxi with bags full of shopping and sweating profusely from the weight of them. Sweating and completely loaded up makes several attempts to get the keys in the door and turn it. Finally he gets in the door and is told by his wife to remove his shoes before venturing in as this is Thailand. Sloan explains that the bags are heavy dear, I am sweating and obviously looking for his wife to over ride this very cherished tradition on this occasion. His wife is having none of it and still insists that shoes are removed. It is at this point you either do as requested and life will sail on smoothly or you flip. Sloan aims a kick at the oscillating fan and frightens the hell out of the dog and it all ends very messy in deed. This of course leads to the evening being ruined, that magic moment between a man and a woman turned in to a non speaking, backs to each other in bed situation.
Sukhumvit Road Bangkok:
The problem for us men in general is that we can have a 10 minute fit and forget about it, but you can be darn sure the lady will carry it on a lot longer, if not very apologetic an Asian lady can take it to the grave. With me it’s always a ”why did I do that reflection”. Christopher Moore captures these moments brilliantly and others in Waiting for the lady. In fact he captures these moments brilliantly in all of his work.
If you have an affection for the Southeast Asian region and enjoy a good novel, especially a novel that really brings the characters to life, then I highly recommend ”Waiting for the lady”, in fact I highly recommend it to anyone.
Books To Recommend
To buy the superb novel of ”Waiting For The Lady” by Christopher G. Moore please follow the link below.
Also the superb translation of ”Letters From Thailand” by Susan Fulop Kepner
For more information, articles and short stories please visit http://www.engagingthailand.com/