Hooray! Talei Namnom has finally landed on my desk – and in a complimentary copy signed by the author, Chatchawan Khotsongkhram, no less.
Flipping through it, I learn that the author – 41 years old, third of five children from a Tai mother and a Lao father growing rice and selling things in Roi-et – teaches Thai and writing at Maha Sarakham, in the depths of the Northeast. He has written dozens of short stories in the past twenty years or so, one of which received the much sought-after Chor Karrakeit award as early as 1992, ‘Jao Nok Krajip’ (The warbler). That’s how his name was slightly familiar to me. Also, a few poems and a short novel, Prung Nee (Tomorrow), I have yet to read.
I also learn that the book was initially and modestly published by Mekong Publishing two years ago and now that it has been preselected for the SEA Write Award, this second printing comes out of the Maha Sarakham University presses.
From reading the first few pages a few moments ago, I fear it is going to be a slow long read: this is high-octane prose packaged in 460 packed pages that requires mobilisation of all of my knowledge of the tongue … and then some.
But then, so does Saneh Sangsuk’s.