21 October 2009

Jane Vejjajiva, The Happiness of Kati, 2003

Kati is a nine year-old Thai girl from Ayutthaya whose hospital-bound mother is dying of Motor Neurone Disease, and the story charts her upbringing by her grandparents and how she connects to the world immediately around her and beyond, including how she chooses to deal with the possibility of reconnecting with her estranged father. The setting is unashamedly, comfortably middle class and presents an idealistic, almost perfect environment for Kati that cushions her separation from both her parents, and this blunts the story somewhat although it’s still undoubtedly realistic. The author Vejjajiva is clearly sticking to the strata with which she’s most familiar: herself cerebral palsied and wheelchair-bound, and apart from running a Thai publishing agency and translation bureau her writing also won her Thailand’s 2006 SEAWrite Award (two years before her brother became the country’s Prime Minister). The Happiness of Kati has also been translated into six languages with a Thai film adaptation released early in 2009. This gentle story also illustrates how Thai extended families can function in more close-knit ways than they do in the West. Recommended.  PY


1 comment:

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

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