Bright by Duanwad Pimwana (tr. Mui Poopoksakul)

a nutshell: a vessel of child’s-eye vignettes, this dreamlike book transports readers to a cluster of tenement houses in Thailand where a community becomes parent to a semi-orphaned boy named Kampol

a line: “The two were sketching out dreams in their heads, but neither of them said a word to the other”

an image: I’d have to pick the scene where Kampol ‘reads aloud’ an illiterate girl’s squiggles, interpreting them as a touching birthday message for her overjoyed and equally illiterate grandmother

a thought: the topic of food is among the few constants across the chapters, both in terms of hunger and greed; at one point Kampol urges a neighbour to feed an emaciated man after hearing a story in which starvation drives a person to lose control and lash out – Kampol almost doesn’t register that he too has known real hunger

a fact: this is the first novel by a Thai woman translated into English, according to the publisher – Pimwana was born in a fishing/farming community on the east coast of Thailand, where she lives and draws inspiration for the magical/social realism of her writing

 

want to read Bright? visit here

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