Sunday, February 27, 2011
Ah, a good old-fashioned private eye story, all the way from Thailand. Vijay makes his living in Bangkok as a P.I. and a translator. Mostly he deals with divorces but this time his client is Atiya, a young lady worried about an American man she met the day before – a human calculator in town for the world championship. These are the people who can figure out things like the cube roots of long numbers in their heads.
Part of the pleasure of a story like this is the guided tour of a different part of the world. Much of the story takes place at Pantip Plaza, the center for buying consumer electronics. And here's the world outside:
Walking back to Pantip past the mats on the pavement (plastic toys, children’s clothes, mobile-phone cases) and the food carts (fried chicken, gelatin sweets, freshly squeezed orange jouce), I was starting to wonder about Atiya myself.
I was fascinated by the description of the Sois, the long narrow lanes off main streets where motorcyclists make their living carrying people from the bus stops to their homes.
There is humor here, and the plot is clever too, although as is often the case, I have a problem with motive – in this case, an important character who does something important, apparently just to be nice. Actions that are important to the story need clear motivation.
But I still enjoyed the tale.