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Book Review: by Lang Reid
new book from a new author, and one that will take your breath away.
Mango Rains by Daniel M Dorothy (ISBN 978-1-905379-66-8, Maverick House,
2010) has just been released and is a 442 page blockbuster.
The epic revolves around the two principal characters Nid and her daughter
Lek. Nid loses her daughter while still an infant and spends the next 20
years looking for her. Dan Dorothy uses a cinematic technique, developing
each character individually but yet side by side.
Nid is sold into indentured prostitution as a very young teenager, and being
a bar girl would seem to be her future. She knows of nothing else, nor has
the education to allow her to improve on her prospects. The shallowness of
the life as a bar girl is brought out very clearly, with Nid saying, “It was
such a stagnant lifestyle, the quick and easy money had a way of destroying
a person’s ability to dream for a better life.”
The supporting cast is brought into the narrative and given enough
characterization to be credible, such as the Akha woman Malee, who at one
time has possession of the child and Chatchai the teenager who is attracted
to Lek, by then herself also a teenager. Incidentally, that childhood love
is soon destroyed under most horrific circumstances. This is one of the many
times that this book will move you to tears.
The book covers Bangkok, Central Thailand, the South-eastern region and
Issan and shows the racking poverty of the farmers and the way advantage is
taken of them.
Author Dan Dorothy has lived for many years in Thailand and his observations
of Thai behavior are spot on. While Lek and a friend were attempting to find
the bus station in Korat, but after arriving by train and asking directions,
“It took a couple of hours before they were finally able to locate the bus
station, which, by the way, turned out to be only about one kilometer from
the train station.” Anyone looking for clear directions in Thailand will
always be disappointed.
The pace is kept up all the way through, but even the ending is not what
you, as the reader, hope will happen. This is a most moving book, showing
just how difficult life can be for Thai women from the poor and
underprivileged portion of the community. As quoted on the back cover, “That
two women can have lives so devastating will come as a shock to those who
imagine that Thai community life revolves around the common good. This is
not a tale of foreigners and Thais trying to outwit each other, but one of
Thais taking advantage of other Thais. It will put a new slant on life in
the Land of Smiles.”
At B. 525 this is a book you will never regret reading, and one you will
read more than once. It deserves to be adapted for cinema. A “must read”
Footnote: Author Dan Dorothy is one who many may come across locally, as he
is the Executive Editor of Pattaya Mail Publishing and a director of Chiang
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