In Duanwad Pimwana's Arid Dreams, thirteen stories investigate ordinary and working-class Thailand, with characters who aspire for more but remain suspended in routine. They bide their time, waiting for an extraordinary event to end their stasis. A politician’s wife imagines her life had her husband’s accident been fatal, a man on death row requests that a friend clear up a misunderstanding with a prostitute, and an elevator attendant feels himself wasting away while trapped, immobile, at his station all day. With curious wit, this collection offers revelatory insight and subtle critique, exploring class, gender, and disenchantment in a changing country.
In Bright, five-year-old Kampol is told by his father to wait for him in front of some run-down apartment buildings. The confused boy does as told―he waits, and waits, and waits, until he realizes his father isn’t coming back anytime soon. Adopted by the community, Kampol is soon being raised by figures like Chong the shopkeeper, who rents out calls on his telephone and goes into debt while extending his customers endless credit. Kampol also plays with local kids like Noi, whose shirt is so worn that it rips right in half, and the sweet, deceptively cute toddler Penporn.
Dueling flea markets, a search for a ten-baht coin lost in the sands of a beach, pet crickets that get eaten for dinner, bouncy ball fads in school, and loneliness so merciless that it kills a boy’s appetite all combine into Bright, the first-ever novel by a Thai woman to appear in English translation. Duanwad Pimwana’s urban, and at times gritty, vignettes are balanced with a folk-tale-like feel and a charmingly wry sense of humor. Together, these intensely concentrated, minimalist gems combine into an off-beat, highly satisfying coming-of-age story of a very memorable young boy and the age-old legends, practices, and personalities that raise him.
Mui Poopoksakul is the literary translator for two forthcoming books by Duanwad Pimwana, who won the S.E.A. Write Award in 2003. Pimwana is one of only six women to have won the Thai section of the S.E.A. Write Award in its thirty-seven-year history. Known for fusing touches of magic realism with social realism, she has penned nine books, including a novella and collections of short stories, poetry, and cross-genre writing, and she is currently working on a political novel. Arid Dreams collects thirteen stories that investigate ordinary and working-class Thailand, offering revelatory insight and subtle critique, exploring class, gender, and disenchantment in a changing country. Bright is the coming-of-age story of a very memorable young boy and the age-old legends, practices, and personalities that raise him, and first-ever novel by a Thai woman to appear in English translation.
YZ Chin's debut book of fiction Though I Get Home (Feminist Press 2018) is the premier winner of the Louise Meriwether First Book Prize, and an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Honor Title. She two poetry chapbooks forthcoming or out in the world: In Passing (Anomalous Press 2019) and deter (dancing girl press 2013). Born and raised in Taiping, Malaysia, Chin now lives in New York, where she also works as a software engineer.