The Sad Part Was

Translation: Mui Poopoksakul


There is a grain of sadness in every, even the funniest story. You can, of course, ignore it; then it will turn into a seed of despair. And you can confront it, as does one of the best Thai writers, Prabda Yoon, in his collection The Sad Part Was.

In his stories, the starting point is usually humorous, even absurd: during a storm a piece of broken neon will fall on the roof of someone’s house; a little girl follows whether the teacher has eaten her confiscated chocolate; a guy wakes up and finds he has lost another pyjama button. As the narrative develops, however, more and more melancholy flows between the lines, leaving a bittersweet aftertaste, but at the same time causing catharsis. Just as the heroes of The Crying Parties, while eating chilli peppers, squeeze out of themselves a deeply hidden mourning for their deceased friend, the author squeezes a second, deeper bottom out of the most banal and prosaic situations.

At the same time, Yoon is not afraid to play with the form, surprising the reader at every step, even with such an inconspicuous procedure as taking part of the text in bracket. Personally, I was most touched by The Crying Parties (from which the title of the entire collection was taken) and the last story – Found. I like finding something deeper in inconspicuous events, and Prabda Yoon is undoubtedly a master at this.

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