Farang. It’s the Thai word for foreigner, tourist, outsider. Serious-minded travellers to Thailand hate it. They look for ways to break out of the stigma of being foreign. They want to find ‘the real Thailand’, not the tourist fantasy of overpriced soft drinks and smiling supplication. In Rattawut Lapcharoensap’s debut offering, breaking out of the brochured universe to tell seven stories about the world away from the tourist gaze, they may have been handed a key to the hidden garden. Being introduced to the Thailand of Sightseeing is like being invited to the locals’ party, instead of dancing all night at the Westerners’ disco.
Lapcharoensap’s prose breathes. If there is such a thing, he writes in the Thai Plain Style – crisp, unfettered and concise. There are moments in every one of the seven short stories in this collection where he makes you pause by the grace with which a simple narrative is rendered.