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Welcome Me to the Kingdom

Author(s): Mai Nardone

Location(s): Bangkok

Genre(s): Short Stories

Era(s): Later 20th Century

Bangkok, 1980. As the decades pass, figures fall in and out of the relentless city: Pea and Nam, who arrive in search of a better life; a Thai Elvis impersonator and his only daughter, Pinky; Benz, Tintin and Big, a brotherhood of orphaned strayboys; Rick, the white American patriarch who abandons his Thai family when the going gets tough; Hasmah, whose bloody, hidden work is driven by secessionist rage. Sex tourism, Buddhist cults, gambling rings and skin-whitening routines threaten to take over a city reeling from financial crisis – in a nation constantly reinventing itself, anything can happen.
In the temples, slums, and gated estates of late-twentieth century Bangkok, Welcome Me to the Kingdom exposes the schemes and strategies, the lies and betrayals, that inch its characters tantalisingly closer to ‘the good life’. Wildly imaginative and ambitious, Mai Nardone’s immersive debut announces the arrival of an extraordinary new voice, and captures the growing discrepancy between Thailand’s smiling self-image and its ugly reverse. Seen through a haze of covert agreements and cigarette smoke, these unforgettable stories capture a kingdom caught between this world and the next.

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