Bright: Mui Poopoksakul in conversation with Saskia Vogel
The Bindery | 1727 Haight Street | San Francisco, CA
Mui Poopoksakul talks about her translation of Duanwad Pimwana’s Bright, the first-ever novel by a Thai woman to appear in English translation, with Saskia Vogel, moderated by Laura Goode.
“Bright will prove to be seminal for Thailand’s place in the literary world.” — Prabda Yoon, author of Moving Parts
When five-year-old Kampol is told by his father to sit in front of their run-down apartment building and await his return, the confused boy does as he’s told—he waits and waits and waits, until he realizes his father isn’t coming back anytime soon. Adopted by the community, Kampol is soon being raised by figures like Chong the shopkeeper, who rents out calls on his telephone and goes into debt extending his customers endless credit.
Dueling flea markets, a search for a ten-baht coin lost in the sands of a beach, pet crickets that get eaten for dinner, bouncy ball fads, and loneliness so merciless that it kills a boy’s appetite all combine into this first-ever novel by a Thai woman to appear in English translation. Duanwad Pimwana’s urban, at times gritty vignettes are balanced with a folk-tale-like feel and a charmingly wry sense of humor. Together, they combine into the off-beat, satisfying, and sometimes magical coming-of-age story of an unforgettable young boy and the timeless legends, traditions, and personalities that go into his formation.
“Duanwad Pimwana has a knack for finding the gap between who we are and who we’d like to be, and deftly inserting her scalpel there. Across the villages and cities of Thailand, her characters exist in a state of constant anxiety, unable to fit in but having nowhere else to go.” —Jeremy Tiang, author of State of Emergency