by Pira Sudham
Shire Asia, 2002, 249 pages. www.dco.co.th
I met Pira Sudham back in 1995 when I was teaching English at a small Thai teacher’s college right along the Thai-Burmese border. He came to speak to the students. I thought we had an interesting conversation. The man was very self effacing, humble, sincere, and highly intelligent. He spoke fluent English.
Khun Sudham is widely known as the best Thai author writing in English. He was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990. The man writes from his deep heart. His novels contrast the struggles between rich and poor, East and West, poverty, corruption, and all the wrenching changes Thailand has seen for over half a century. Between the old ways and modernisation, to those who are being left behind and those who managed to get ahead. All done in a deeply heartfelt way.
Monsoon country is filled with all those elements, about a young boy’s journey through life, what he encounters then his reflections on his sometimes harrowing trip. Monsoon Country is the best literature in English. 5 stars.