Read The World — Bright by Duanwad Pimwana (Thailand)

Country 53 Thailand. Blurb from, please scroll down for my review.

Honorable mention in the Global Humanities Translation Prize

When five-year-old Kampol is told by his father to wait for him in front of some run-down apartment buildings, the confused boy does as told―he waits, and waits, and waits, until he realizes his father isn’t coming back anytime soon. Adopted by the community, Kampol is soon being raised by figures like Chong the shopkeeper, who rents out calls on his telephone and goes into debt while extending his customers endless credit. Kampol also plays with local kids like Noi, whose shirt is so worn that it rips right in half, and the sweet, deceptively cute toddler Penporn.

Dueling flea markets, a search for a ten-baht coin lost in the sands of a beach, pet crickets that get eaten for dinner, bouncy ball fads in school, and loneliness so merciless that it kills a boy’s appetite all combine into Bright, the first-ever novel by a Thai woman to appear in English translation. Duanwad Pimwana’s urban, and at times gritty, vignettes are balanced with a folk-tale-like feel and a charmingly wry sense of humor. Together, these intensely concentrated, minimalist gems combine into an off-beat, highly satisfying coming-of-age story of a very memorable young boy and the age-old legends, practices, and personalities that raise him.

My Review

Quote “You stay here. I’m taking your brother over to Grandma’s. I’ll be back in a bit.” Hearing these last three words, Kampol didn’t dare wander, worried that his father wouldn’t spot him when he got back, so he just paced back and forth, keeping an eye on the curve where the road came into the neighborhood.

This book taught me about community.

Bright by Duanwad Pimwana is a drama, emotional and often sad, with a very surprising ending, which totally threw me and broke my heart. The ending was amazing, it was actually the best part of the book. It is an easy to read book, short and gives an insight into a working class Thai community.

There is a great sense of community as the neighbourhood takes him in and gives him a place to sleep and eat. He goes from family to family, sometimes in one home and sometimes in another. But nobody gives him money, they have none to spare, so here is where you learn how resilient and determined Kampol is under the circumstances learning to earn money and survive.

It reads more like short stories, each chapter was a totally different story but with the same characters in each story, from the community where Kampol lives, and there are a lot of characters, with a list at the beginning of the book. Although there are so many of them, you never get confused who is who.

Lots of interesting characters just going on with the day to day stuff. They are all good people, trying to get by day to day, with their jobs, raising their children and of course, plenty of gossip from the neighbourhood.

Best chapter or short story? possibly the crickets chapter, I liked the idea of how Kampol could earn money.

The author describes another world, a world where the government does next to nothing to help abandoned children, but the worst was that his father and mother would appear once in a while and then disappear again without warning. But, don’t forget the ending, this book is worth reading just for this.

I give this book 3 stars, The next country we are visiting in Ethiopia.

See you in the next country!!!!!

Originally published at on December 6, 2021.




Photographer and web designer from the UK but living in Ecuador, spending as much time as I can reading and reviewing books. Stock photography of Ecuador

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Jo Reason

Jo Reason

Photographer and web designer from the UK but living in Ecuador, spending as much time as I can reading and reviewing books. Stock photography of Ecuador

More from Medium

Svalbard Travel Guide: Best Things To Do & Tips

Silence and Stillness Are More Precious Than Gold and They Provide the Space Necessary to Navigate…

Fun Ways to Supplement Learning for You and Your Kiddos