“Sightseeing” by Rattawut Lapcharoensap (Thailand)
Readers really liked this collection of short stories from a very young and promising author. They found his style of writing excellent and they felt he managed to give clear and distinct voices to a wide range of characters from different strata of society while at the same time evoking well a sense of place: an 11-year-old boy in a seedy Bangkok district, a 15-year-old girl in the countryside, a couple of teenage boys trying to avoid the draft, a young man accompanying his mother on a trip to the Andaman islands, a frustrated wife ignored by her cockfighting husband, and an elderly American grandfather trying to adapt to life in a foreign country. They enjoyed the flow of the stories and liked the fact that some tension was created to keep the reader interested in the outcome. Some of the stories they found sad and depressing, though realistic. Others they enjoyed thanks to the humour and the insights about tourists in Thailand. Overall, readers appreciated being able to look at life in Thailand from a different perspective. They mentioned for the first time this season that they were of the opinion that each story had been well named. Some of the favourites were: “Farangs”, “At the Café Lovely” and “Priscilla the Cambodian”.
The book averaged an 8.9 out of 10, the highest score of this season!
The jewelled seas and sandy beaches of Thailand are a dream holiday destination for some, but for the characters of “Sightseeing” they represent home. Rattawut Lapcharoensap’s storytelling embraces the everyday in the ‘exotic,’ revealing a country that is dynamic and corrupt, full of pride, passion and fear… Read more
Season 11 – “Short Stories” (Feb – Jun 2010)
“Last Evenings on Earth” by Roberto Bolano (Chile)
“I Think of You” by Ahdaf Soueif (Egypt)
“Fascination” by William Boyd (U.K.)
“Runaway” by Alice Munro (Canada)
“Sightseeing” by Rattawut Lapcharoensap (Thailand) *
“An Elegy for Easterly” by Petina Gappah (Zimbabwe)
* The book club favourite
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur