Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap
The stories in this collection are set in contemporary Thailand and written with such insight and grace that it belies the youth of the author, who assembles a cast of unforgettable characters to present the backdrop of a nation famous for being an exotic getaway.
Every Saturday morning, Ma battles the vendors at Chatuchak. Even the most stubborn of vendors have submitted to her entreaties. It is not only charm she exerts upon them, for charm will get you only so far; Ma slashes their prices through an inimitable combination of wit, commonsense economics, high theatrics, and old-fashioned psychological manipulation. That Saturday at the bazaar, a few days before our trip, Ma was at the height of her powers.