[Finalist for the 2020 Epigram Books Fiction Prize]
In 1970s Thailand, three young people meet each other with fateful results.
Det has just lost his mother, the granddaughter of a king. He clings to his best friend Chang, a smart boy from the slums, as they go to college; while there, Det falls for Lek, a Chinese immigrant with radical ideals. Longing for glory, Det journeys into his friends’ political circles, and then into the Thai jungle to fight. During Thailand’s most famous period of political and artistic openness, these three friends must reconcile their deep feelings for one another with the realities of perilous political revolution.
“Epic in sweep but precise in its details, A Good True Thai shines on all fronts. Time and again, Sunisa Manning resists easy answers, reaching for nuance, for complexity, for truth. An astounding debut from a talented new voice.”
—Kirstin Chen, bestselling author of Bury What We Cannot Take
“Sunisa Manning understands deeply and innately that politics is woven through the strongest and most ambitious fiction, just as it is through life itself.”
—Rachel Kushner, Booker-shortlisted author of The Mars Room
“The story of Thailand’s democracy movement in the 1970s is almost unknown in the rest of the world, but Sunisa Manning insists on recapturing and preserving it in this beautiful and astonishing novel. Read and immerse yourself in a narrative that speaks so profoundly to the condition of Thailand, and the world, today.”
—Jess Row, award-winning author of Your Face in Mine
“Sunisa Manning brings to life a tortured, misunderstood nexus in the painful evolution of Thailand’s democracy with immediacy and vividness, never losing her sharply-drawn characters in the labyrinth of history. Mingling narratives of insider and outsider in a terse, swiftly-moving style, she drags the past into the present, unveiling complex truths with a remarkable clarity of vision.”
—SP Somtow, multi-award-winning author of Jasmine Nights
“The 1970s leftist and anti-authoritarian protests that drive the characters in Manning’s authentic and engaging novel are among the most important and controversial political events in modern Thai history. Frighteningly, the general context of conflicts that the novel covers is still very relevant today. Foreigners who want to understand the long-lasting crisis in Thai society, and the complex psyche behind the famous ‘Thai smile’, should read this book.”
—Prabda Yoon, award-winning author of The Sad Part Was