Evocative profiles of Thai young adults growing up in hard circumstances but with a hopeful future.



Youths living at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok wrestle with the basics—cheap food, among them—in these coming-of-age stories.

In 15 autobiographical tales, Limpichart (A Man in Saffron Robes, 2013) writes of teenagers, most of them students at Bangkok colleges, who get free lodging at an unnamed temple in exchange for doing chores and maintenance work for the monks. For the temple boys, most of them from impoverished rural families who send them skimpy and irregular stipends to live on, it’s a life of austerity and persistent hustling to make ends meet. Several stories follow the travails of boys trying to get food to supplement the meager temple fare of rice with fish sauce; their various stratagems include begging, borrowing, and selling blood. Residents must guard their clothing from thieves and often pawn their meager possessions to eke out the days until the next money order arrives from home. The daily struggle for survival is a persistent, though gentle, picaresque adventure that most of the boys weather with a little help from their friends. Meanwhile, Limpichart’s alter ego/narrator engages with problems of moral responsibility, ponders his prospects—a post in the government bureaucracy is the holy grail for these students—and takes in a cast of colorful acquaintances, including a hard-luck aspiring boxer who is hopeless in the ring, a gay roommate who makes a pass at him, and a sly con man who scams food by crashing funerals and weddings. In Landau’s workmanlike translation, these winsome narratives unfold as loose-limbed, shaggy dog stories that often close with an ironic punch line and an Aesopian moral. (“A birthday is an occasion for acquiring merit by offering food to monks, not for snatching meals away from them.”) The content and conflicts are fairly tame—the stories are often used in lessons in Thai schools—but together they paint a rich profile of life and longings among young strivers. At their best, as in a tale in which the narrator returns to his hometown when his father dies, Limpichart achieves a quiet but moving emotional power.

Evocative profiles of Thai young adults growing up in hard circumstances but with a hopeful future.

Pub Date: June 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9894432-1-0

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Middle Way Multimedia & Publishing Services

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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