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.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 3 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 4 Motorists taunt suicidal woman on bridge and tell her to 'get on with it'
- 5 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
Church of Scientology allegedly sent threatening letters to film distributors and festivals showing damning documentary
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Contemporary art is a fraud, says top dealer
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture