RICE IN SILVER BOWLS by Alice Ekert-Rotholz


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First published in Germany in 1954, this European best-seller offers a rich slice of European life in Thailand, circa 1949-50. Johannes Petersen of Hamburg has set up business in Bangkok, separated from his family back home because of his daughter's illness and World War II. And now, though wife Martha and their two children have arrived at last--and though they all live lavishly in Bangkok--Martha is determined to return to Hamburg: she doesn't want the children growing up among the self-indulgent, time-wasting, serene Siamese. After all, the Thai-raised family of Johannes' Uncle Wilhelm has certainly turned out badly: married to Countess Nang Siri, Wilhelm has sired an unhappy lot of half-caste children--including a dropout with beggar bowl and yellow robe. So there'll be increasing tension between chain-smoking Johannes (who wants to stay) and migraine-tormented Martha--while Johannes' jilted mistress Karin Holm first blackmails him, then plans (with nursemaid Ah Bue) to kidnap his daughter Charlotte. And though Karin herself is murdered, Ah Bue goes ahead with the scheme--which leads Charlotte, Johannes, and others into the Thai underworld of opium and child-buying. Still, despite kidnaps, murders, and suicides, this is more sociological travelogue than melodrama--with greater appeal in the abundant Asian-milieu detail than in the somewhat overwrought storytelling. (Ekert-Rotholz's previous US-published books include the lavish, uneven Time of the Dragon, 1958.)

Pub Date: June 21st, 1982
Publisher: Fromm International (560 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10022)