Item description for Four Reigns by Kukrit Pramoj & Tulachandra ...
M.R. Kukrit Pramoj (1911-1995) was a phenomenon. He achieved distinction in the fields of politics, classical dance drama, and literature, while also even appearing in the Hollywood version of The Ugly American playing opposite Marlon Brando. Many Lives (Lai Chiwit) depicts the traditional Thai way of life already fast vanishing in the fifties. His longest book, Four Reigns (Si Phaen Din), reworks this motif in a wider setting. Unfolding from the closing years of the last century through till the mid-1940s, it begins by interweaving scenes from the lives of minor courtiers under the absolute monarchy of the day and their relationships through their extended families with the wider society beyond the palace walls. It develops this theme by following the same characters, the dynamics of their marriages and the upbringing of their children, carrying us on down through the decades of ever-changing social and political conditions in Bangkok, showing people striving to cope with the impingement of the international geopolitical struggles of the day on their own formerly more self-enclosed economy and culture. At the beginning, these are distant rumbles, the First World War, followed by the political turmoil of the 20s in Europe are largely seen "in a distant mirror". But not for much longer; the impact of the Depression is a contributory factor to the 1932 Revolution, with the overthrow of absolute monarchy, and the subsequent introduction of constitutional monarchy - soon followed by the outbreak of the Second World War, the Japanese ultimatum backed by threat of invasion, and later Allied bombing raids on Bangkok. Anyone interested in Thailand will find this new and improved translation a charming yet intriguing revelation of the evolution of Thai social mores within a domestic setting over five decades.
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Studio: University of Washington Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.25" Width: 5.25" Height: 8" Weight: 1.15 lbs.
Publisher University of Washington Press
ISBN 9747100665 ISBN13 9789747100662
Availability 0 units.
More About Kukrit Pramoj & Tulachandra
Pramoj was prime minister, journalist, classical dancer
Reviews - What do customers think about Four Reigns?
A Nostalgic Look at Thailand's Past Oct 4, 2007
I can only endorse the comments of other reviewers about this rather wonderful book. As a writer myself, yes, I can find flaws. For example, the characterization is sometimes too uni-dimensional - the protagonist, Phloi (sometimes she is just too good); the stereotyped wicked older sister, Khun Un, who, in true fairytale fashion, redeems herself in the end. But ultimately, I forgive the book these flaws because the writer has the skills to create a world which I want to inhabit. Finishing it was like parting with a very dear friend.
beautiful and epic novel Sep 15, 2007
I ordered this book when preparing for a trip to Bangkok, however I wasn't able to start reading it until the plane trip home. I'm not usually very good at reading on planes, but I was thoroughly engrossed and I read about half of the novel before I got home. Although it is a work of fiction, I felt that I got a deeper appreciation of Thai history and culture which has whet my appetite to do further (non-fiction) reading about Thailand.
Once I got used to the smattering of Thai phrases, it was a very accessible and enjoyable read. The changes in the characters over a period of many years are all very believable and often times moving; the main character, Phloi, grows from a timid girl of 10 to an old woman who observes many changes in her country over the passing of time. The narrative has an epic feel because of the historical events that serve as a background to the story.
I'd recommend this novel to anyone who is interested in Thailand or in reading works of fiction that are evocative of other cultures.
a classic Jan 5, 2006
i am an american who grew up in thailand. this book is a classic way to understand thai history and culture, and i have loved it since adolescence. it is an easy and compelling read, full of great details, and has a very thai sensability.
Good Read Aug 20, 2005
This is a worthwhile read for anyone wanting insight into Thai history or Thai culture the same way as "Little House on the Prairie" should be required reading for anyone studying 19th Century American history.
I liked the book, but it is an intense read, and it isn't all that upbeat from a western perspective. There is a lot of sadness associated with the passage of time, and as an epic spanning the reign of four kings of Thailand, there is ample opportunity to see this in this work.
I have never attempted to read even parts of the work in its original language, but I was entertained to see the another review saying that the content was much different. While this may well be the case, the book is certainly worth reading.
Great Historical Novel of Siam! Jan 30, 2005
This is an English translation of the "Four Reigns". It is a very good tranlslation and very loyal to the Thai. I think one of the reviewers hasn't thought about the differences in how Thai is written and English is used in literature. English language readers may expect more elaboration than readers in Thai do. I read this book as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand in the early 90's. It was a good way to access and understand better the history of Siam. I personally loved the book!