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Bangkok 8 - John Burdett

A Buddhist cop named Sonchai Jitplecheep is the main character in this dark, sleazy, complex and smartly written introduction to Bangkok’s underbelly, where Sonchai’s mother is a successful madame in a successful whore house, catering to “farangs.” Bangkok 8 is the 1st of 5 books, all about the magical Krung Thep, City of Angels.

“Bangkok is one of the world’s great cities, all of which own red-light districts that find their ways into the pages of novels from time to time. The sex industry in Thailand is smaller per capita because the Thais are less coy about it than many other people. Most visitors to the kingdom enjoy wonderful vacations without coming across any evidence of sleaze at all”

“You don’t understand. I only prostitute the part of the body that isn’t important, and nobody suffers except my karma a little bit. I don’t do big harm. You prostitute your mind. Mind is seat of Buddha. What you do is very very bad. You should not use your mind in that way”

“I don’t want enlightenment, I want him. Sorry Buddha, I loved him more than you”

“The great weakness of the West is that it has nothing with which to inspire loyalty except wealth. But what is wealth? Another washing machine, a bigger car, a nicer house to live in? Not much to feed the spirit in all that ”

“Lumpini Park at night: love at its cheapest, but the incidence of HIV is said to be over 60 per cent. In the darkness: furtive movement on benches and on the grass, muted moans and whispers, rustlings of large animals in heat, the intensity of the atomic fusion of sex and death (highly addictive, they say)”

“The sound she is making is the sound hearts make after they’re in pieces and the fragments dissolve into the overwhelming sadness of the universe. The power to hear it may be the only privilege of the thoroughly dispossessed ”