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Duanwad Pimwana, Mui Poopoksakul

When five-year-old Kampol is told by his father to sit in front of their run-down apartment building and await his return, the confused boy does as he’s told - he waits and waits and waits, until he realises his father isn’t coming back anytime soon. Adopted by the community, Kampol is soon being raised by various figures in the homes around.

Duelling flea markets, a search for a ten-baht coin lost in the sands of a beach, pet crickets that get eaten for dinner, bouncy ball fads, and loneliness so merciless that it kills a boy’s appetite all combine into this dynamic novel. Duanwad Pimwana’s urban, at times gritty vignettes are balanced with a folktale-like feel and a charmingly wry sense of humour. Together, they combine into the off-beat, satisfying, and sometimes magical coming of age story of an unforgettable young boy and the timeless legends, traditions, and personalities that go into his formation.

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