Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Review: Arid Dreams

Arid Dreams Arid Dreams by Duanwad Pimwana
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On the heels of reading Bright (Two Lines Press) by this same author/translator duo, I found this book of short stories that came out the same day from Feminist Press - I have to admit I was taken aback at first by how many stories featured a male character who was often obsessing over a woman, treating her like an object, or punishing her for not looking/acting like he thought she should. But there some subversion going on here where these characters are exposed for their thinking. "Kanda's Eyebrows" is probably the standout story for me in this collection, about a man who is angry that his wife has stopped wearing makeup.

While I understand the author's approach, I've probably read enough women filtered through men for a lifetime (even if in this case it is women through men through a woman) and I'd prefer to hear from the women in their own lives without the men as the filter or focus. The author seems to be trying to point out the difficulty when men believe they have a right to that control, and how quickly situations devolve. True, and yet.

I want to thank Two Lines Press for pointing me to this article by the translator of both Arid Dreams and Bright, addressing what Thai feminism looks like, and understanding how the author is seen and sees herself in relation to it. It really helped me understand the stories from a more Thai perspective.

Oh hey this counts for the Reading Envy Summer Challenge for "something translated." I found it in Hoopla.

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