The first one is, without question, “1Q84” by my beloved Murakami, which is scheduled to be published in October. Previously it was supposed to be out in September. For some reason the date was moved. I was slightly annoyed by the new release date but as a Murakami aficionado, I think I can deal with it.
The second one is a Thai classic called “The Tale of Khun Chang Khun Phaen“. It was fortuitous that I came across the English translation while I was seeking information about Murakami and Thailand on the internet. I could not be happier to see it published in English. According to Amazon.co.uk, the book will be out next month in hardcover.
“Siam’s folk epic of love, war, and tragedy. Khun Chang Khun Phaen is one of the
most famous works of old Thai literature. The plot is a love story, set against
a background of war, and ending in high tragedy. This folk epic was first
developed in oral form for popular performance with lashings of romance,
adventure, violence, farce and magic.”
Every Thai person knows the story of Khun Chang Khun Phaen. Students have to study it at school as part of their Thai language course. Even so, kids from the same generation as me did not seem particularly excited about the book. We did not have to read all of it. Only a few episodes were included in the Thai language book. At that time I could understand why many, including me, did not enjoy reading this Thai classic as it was a bit much for us to take in. The book will be valuable for people who want to learn more about Thailand in terms of its historical and social context at that time. The language used in the book is also highly praised but I don’t know how it will turn out in English. I cannot wait for it.