By Rattawut Lapcharoensap
Sightseeing is a rich collection of short stories written by a Thai native with relatable characters set in contemporary Thailand with a strong emphasis on human relationships, interactions and conflicts.
Lapcharoensap’s writing style is detail oriented and tinged with humor in a way that’s universal and answers to Thailand-based fiction written by foreigners (re: The Beach or Fieldwork).
Many of the stories depict situations involving tourists and it’s refreshing to have a clarifying and opposing point of view (having been a tourist here several times myself) to how tourists are perceived and interacted with.
Our author eloquently captures elements of drama that we can interpret metaphorically into Thailand’s greater global relationships with the world at large – but on the surface the stories are straightforward and engaging to even the most aloof of readers.
His ability to capture beauty and positivity in the bleakest of stories speaks a lot for my personal experience with the Thai people- utmost positivity. One reason tourists fall in love with and return to the land of smiles is the overwhelming outward happiness and friendliness that locals exhibit.
Of all the Thailand books I have read so far, this is the first one I would recommend.