Since, judging from their online versions, neither the Bangkok Post nor The Nation seem to bother to report it, you might as well learn it from me: the SEA Write shortlist was announced yesterday. This year, it consists of seven novels:
1) Khon Khrae (The Dwarf(s)) by Vipaj Srithong;
2) Diaodai Tai Fa Khlang ([Lonely] Under a demented sky) by Daen-aran Saengthong/Saneh Sangsuk;
3) Nai Roop Ngao (In the shadow) by Ngao Jan (‘shadow of the moon’: how is that for a pen name?);
4) Roi Phlae Khong Saiphin (Saiphin’s Scar) by Sakorn Poolsuk;
5) Rueang Lao Nai Loak Luangta (Tale from an illusory world) by Pichetsak Popayak;
6) Lak A-lai (The nature of regret) by Uthis Hemamool; and
7) Loak Pralart Nai Prawatsart Khwamsao (A strange world in the history of sadness) by Siriworn Kaewkan.
Of the seven, I’m familiar with three: Saneh Sangsuk’s Under a demented sky, which I’m in the process of translating (see previous postings); Siriworn’s Strange world…, whose two versions have left me unhappy; and Uthis’s Nature of regret (if that’s the right translation: อาลัย, a-lai, is usually a verb meaning ‘to miss (someone); long for (someone); grieve over the loss of’), which I’m currently reading: with the first 90 pages, I can see through the story but proceed cautiously: I could have said the same thing of Uthis’s previous novel and would have been utterly wrong.
I’m glad that the rumour about Saneh Sangsuk not making the shortlist was unfounded. So far, I’d wager his novella deserves the prize, but I have yet to finish reading Uthis’s novel and to buy and read the other four.