Lives of Thai Temple Boys, translated into English from the writer Maitree Limpichart, is a cross-cultural coming-of-age collection of stories based on the author’s experiences in the late 1950s and early 1960s as an adolescent temple boy from the South of Thailand then living at a Buddhist temple and going to school in Bangkok.
Although they very much embody aspects of the culture of Thailand, these stories are also universal and recognisable for the human emotions and relationships they portray. Maitree Limpichart writes insightfully and with the humor, surprise, and irony for which he is well known. It has been remarked that one can see in Limpichart’s writing similarities to the short stories of the American author O. Henry.
The subject matter is intriguing and wide-ranging as a sampling of the stories illustrates: the quirkiness of a feminine boy (Order and Propriety in the Temple), conflicting Thai and Western notions of nudity (Life at the Water Faucet), parental death and loss (A Telegram from Home), perseverance and dedication (The Remarkable Mr. Ying), and the personality who stands out and marches to the beat of his own drummer (Ai Neuk and More About Ai Neuk).
Originally serialized in magazines, these stories were first published in book form as a collection in 1976. The book was selected by the Thai Ministry of Education to be included on a supplemental reading list, and since 1976 has been reprinted 36 times. To date, more than 700,000 copies have been sold in Thailand. It remains a favorite among young adults and adults of all ages.
This translation seeks to preserve the nature and feeling of that culture and allows the reader to venture into and experience life in an unfamiliar setting. Each chapter begins with an illustration of the story to come and focuses on a fascinating personality and an aspect of temple-boy life from which poignant, humorous and sometimes universal lessons of life may be drawn.
These stories have never before been translated or published in English.