There Are Still Unknown Places
by Ron Morris

"Any Thai adventure—even for a Thai—ends with flying away on a plane, one step ahead of the ever-approaching past."

Author, journalist, and political analyst Morris brings his sundry analytical skills and travel experiences into this stunning debut novel set in Bangkok, Thailand, at the zenith of the pre-Internet era of commerce, “when Asia was the New World where fortunes were being minted.” The character-driven literary tale is told from the viewpoints of Western expatriates and the locals involved with these foreign adventurers as all parties seek their own version of advancement in the developing country.

The alternating character viewpoints carry readers deep into the thoughts of native English speakers who find work—and respect—as English teachers to Thai students who seek to enter prestigious Western universities. The sensory-laden, lyrical writing weaves a powerful fictive dream that explores the vast differences in cultural and spiritual viewpoints that these Western and Eastern characters juggle within the sphere of their everyday lives. The finely wrought characterizations are vivid and multilayered; there are no one-dimensional, cardboard players or glossed-over descriptive passages.

Both Thais and expats reveal their deepest thoughts and longings within the constraints of Thai culture, which values equanimity above all. These human dreams and plans often create cultural collisions, as newly recruited teacher John discovers when his desire to import Christmas trees finds traction in an unexpected way. The Western teachers at “Come Rich Language Learning Center” are esteemed for their English language skills but are never truly understood, as Laura painfully discovers when she bucks Thai protocol with Professor Thanin, the school’s owner, during an economic downturn. Many of the English teachers, young and mature, fall into the trap of nightly carousing in Bangkok’s plethora of bars, jeopardizing their intent to thrive in their lives abroad. Readers of this culturally rich but jarring story will clamor for more fiction from this author.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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