Harvill Secker £12.99
Bangkok Days, By Lawrence Osborne
Sunday 09 August 2009
Lawrence Osborne is in "headlong flight". Bangkok, he discovers, is the perfect asylum for one such as himself: broke, with no career and no prospects. What he does have is an "inquisitive loitering", useful since the "streets are cul-de-sacs so there is no point in having a direction".
Stylistic loitering guides – or rather, fails to guide – this narrative, made up of Osborne's amusing observations. Built in much the same way as those cul-de-sacs, one often feels as if wandering lost, but some reflective or arresting description will thankfully be waiting. His evocation is comic rather than romantic; the river surging past his apartment is "the colour of pea soup into which a baby has puked". He vividly sketches the characters he meets: a man with a degree in air-conditioning, one with an air of "upper-class twittery". Another contrasts the physicality of Bangkok life with the isolation of Western life: "There's a reason we're so neurotic and violent and unhappy ... no one ever touches us." Osborne's travelogue is, however, memorably touching.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 3 Young Preston fan has play-off hero Jermaine Beckford's shirt stolen from him at Wembley - which then appears for sale on Gumtree
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people