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The Bangkok Podcast

Jun 25, 2024

Greg and Ed interview Paul and Yuangrat Wedel, returning guests to the show who previously talked about their book “Radical Thought, Thai Mind.” This time around the fascinating couple discuss their two novels, “Beads On A String” and “Dark Karma,” each historical fiction based in Southern Thailand.

The two begin with a discussion of the origin of the novels. In short, Yuangrat grew up in the deep South of Thailand with a family of mixed ethnicity, including Thai, Malay, Mon, and Chinese ancestry. This rich family tree provided the raw material for the characters who populate the story. Then the couple did serious historical research on the epic changes that the South of Thailand went through in the late 1800s and early 1900s. With the character and the historical framework, they then wove a fictional story that intersects with actual historical events. 

Greg, having dug into the first novel, attests to the pull of the story, which is a fascinating (and surprisingly horny!) look into a part of Thailand that was caught in the middle of a whirlwind of change, and the people that played a role in how it evolved. The discussion looks at topics that still play a big role in Thailand today - royalty, religion, money, corruption, gambling, and complex family dynamics. Against the backdrop of southern Thailand at the turn of the 20th, it’s a fascinating look back into the past and the creation of a story that’s as layered and nuanced as the real-life details the novels portray.

Tune in for part two of the intriguing interview next week. 

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