The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth

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Veeraporn Nitiprapha translated by Kong Rithdee

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9786164510135
Paperback
River Books
Territory: USA & Canada
Size: 6 in x 8.25 in
Pages: 206

RRP $11.99

  • Tuned to the rhythms of the soap operas that air on Thai television each night and written with the consuming intensity of a fever dream, this novel opens an insighful and truly compelling window into the Thai heart

"Mesmerizing and unputdownable - a virtuoso translation of what must surely be one of the best Thai novels to make it into English." - Lawrence Osborne, author of Hunters in the Dark and Only to Sleep

"At its core, this novel from Veeraporn Nitiprapha has a simple dynamic: the tension between two sisters, and the young man whose life interweaves with each of theirs. What makes this novel unique is its attention to the granular, whether it's the music that several of its characters obsess over or its author's tendency to fill in the history or future of a specific character at a moment's notice." - Words Without Borders, February 2019 Watchlist

On the day Chareeya is born, her mother discovers her father has been having an affair with a traditional Thai dancer. From that moment, Chareeya's life is fated to carry the weight of her parents disappointment. With her sister, Chalika, she grows up in an insular world, until joined by the laconic orphan, Pran, and together they navigate the labyrinth of their own making, each trying to escape their fate.

Veeraporn Nitiprapha is an established author in Thailand and is widely known and much loved. She won (for this novel) the 2015 S.E.A Write Award for Fiction, a prestigious award in Thailand and the pre-eminent award for fiction. Translator Kong Rithdee is a Thai film critic and author and was awarded France's Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

What the press have said about this book...

“Mesmerizing and unputdownable - a virtuoso translation of what must surely be one of the best Thai novels to make it into English.”Lawrence Osborne, author of Hunters in the Dark and Only to Sleep

“At its core, this novel from Veeraporn Nitiprapha has a simple dynamic: the tension between two sisters, and the young man whose life interweaves with each of theirs. What makes this novel unique is its attention to the granular, whether it’s the music that several of its characters obsess over or its author’s tendency to fill in the history or future of a specific character at a moment’s notice.”Words Without Borders, February 2019 Watchlist

“Engrossing and addictive – a unique window onto the Thai soul in turmoil. More than any other Thai publication in English currently out right now, The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth is the most complete and enjoyable novel for losing one’s self in Thai fiction.”  - Asian Review of Books (Hong Kong)

“Nitiprapha has been referred to as the Arundhati Roy of Thailand. [Her] unorthodox style and prowess, which mirrors the classical Thai drama, has made her an international phenomenon one should not miss out on.”Scroll.in (India)

“Nitiprapha’s feverish and dreamy novel … is a tour de force that looks at the romantic ideals that come to us from stories and songs, and how they can cause us to lose our way, like blind earthworms in a labyrinth. Compelled to write this book after seeing the clashes between pro- and anti-government forces in Thailand in 2010, [she] seems to suggest that, just like romanticising love, romanticising political leaders can lead to madness and delusion. … This slim novel is like a seductive and intoxicating soap opera. Melodramatic and mesmerising, the book dives deep into love and comes up smelling of roses.”The Straits Times newspaper (Singapore)

“The effect of Veeraporn’s narrative is akin to a malarial hallucination, but that’s what Bangkok feels like: a soap opera in which someone wakes up and realizes that the preceding episodes were all just a fever dream.  Or is the waking the actual dream?....Veeraporn’s Bangkok is an immersive experience, exotic but not exoticized.” – The New York Times Book Review

“Rich with mythical imagery, [The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth] plunges the reader into a contemporary Thai life strongly influenced by Western culture while steeped in timeless traditions and Buddhist thought, and roiled by decades of political dissent. … The translator has done a masterful job of capturing the author’s sumptuous prose, each sentence unfurling like a brightly dyed bolt of silk. Despite a doomed sense of a tragedy foretold, the story is a celebration of life that engages all the senses, redolent with food and music, fecund with the splendor of nature, opulent with life, as one story uncovers another story and on into infinity. … [A] rare glimpse into the torrid heart of modern Thai life.” - Washington Independent Review of Books