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The author of Sing to the Dawn (1975) again writes about the experience of a village girl in Thailand, where she grew up. When young intellectuals from Bangkok arrive in 17-year-old Jinda's remote village, they are greeted with suspicion as possible troublemakers; but Sri, a medical student, soon wins Jinda's friendship with her dedication to helping the sick (despite primitive conditions and local superstitions), while Jinda forms an even wanner bond with Ned, who is encouraging the hungry farmers to withhold a greater share of the rice crops given to their rapacious landlords. Reluctantly convinced, Jinda's father leads the farmers in an abortive opposition that results in his imprisonment and death. Meanwhile, Jinda visits her new friends in Bangkok; observes the brutal suppression of a peaceful, communist-led demonstration; and escapes to home, where she decides to stay with her family rather than joining Ned and the rebels--even though she and Ned are now openly in love. Though obviously designed to illustrate the tension between rich and poor, rural and urban, and old ways and new, the story portrays Thailand vividly and with such sympathy that the contrivance is acceptable. Like Naidoo's Chain of Fire (p. 428/C-78), this derives its strength from the dramatization of social conditions and injustice rather than from memorable characterizations; the compelling details here will be even less familiar to Americans. A valuable, memorable portrait of a little-known country.

Pub Date: April 23rd, 1990
ISBN: 0688063551
Page count: 236pp
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard