The Last Boat to Samui is a collection of short stories written by William Peskett, a writer with an eclectic history including reading Natural Sciences at Cambridge University and has gainfully employed himself with teaching, marketing, journalism, corporate relations and more. However, he now lives in Pattaya and was the author of “If you can’t stand the fun, stay out of the go-go” which was reviewed a few months ago.
This new book, The Last Boat to Samui (ISBN 978-616 91211-3-8, Bamboo Sinfonia publishers, 2012) introduces the reader to a host of characters, most of whom are obviously an amalgam of real people he has met while living in Pattaya. It may be called the ‘extreme city’ but its ex-pat inhabitants can be fairly off the wall as well. Peskett knows and shows this delightfully.
There is the fellow called Ken who when engaged in conversation with the ladies of Beach Road adopts different personas. In the book, this persona places him squarely in Latvia, a country to which he has never been, and does not even know its capital. Why does Ken do this?
The four friends drinking in the bar beer who own different pets, “Steve keeps dogs and Dave has tanks full of expensive coral fish. Texas John has a snap in his wallet of the Labrador he left behind in Nebraska. It wouldn’t surprise me if Dave had a photo of one of his sardines in a locket around his neck. I’m joking, but only to show how soft these boys can be.” And author Peskett has shown you too.
It is inevitable that a ladyboy would be incorporated in one of the chapters, who shows all the petulance and chicanery of many of his/her genre. You will have met her too.
Author Peskett describes the ex-pat life very well, including references to real places to give the stories authenticity. He also expresses the fact that all long-stay residents know you cannot describe Pattaya life to people back home, as they do not believe you. “…experiences so exotic they couldn’t ever be explained to the friends he’d meet in Hubert’s Bar and Grill of Thursday afternoons in Nong’s bar beer on Soi Buakhao, of undemanding conversation over a Tiger beer, of diving and jungle and fried chicken and papaya salad on the beach. Fish sauce and sticky rice and fried onion – these were things that couldn’t be explained. You couldn’t explain the smell of Asia. He didn’t even want to try.”
At B. 395 it is not an expensive read and is a most enjoyable book to consume over a weekend with a never-ending supply of G&T’s at one’s elbow. I did enjoy the vignettes of ex-pat foibles taken to the point of no return, as I am sure you will as well. I enjoyed this book much more than the “If you can’t stand the fun, stay out of the go-go” and author Peskett has countered the niggles I expressed six months ago. Well worthwhile getting for the fun if nothing else, and to make sure you are not in it.