Proglen

Publisher info

Proglen is Thailand's oldest online bookstore. It specializes in English and other European language books published in Thailand. Thailand is fortunate to have so many publishers with good books covering the Southeast Asian region in both fiction and non-fiction. Dipping our toes into the eBooks explosion is our latest endeavour.

Where to find Proglen online


Where to buy in print


Publisher of



Number Three: Highway Robbery
Pre-release—available December 16, 2017. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 14,260. Language: English. Published by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
"First, my only appointment of the week phoned to postpone. Second, on the TV news I was astounded to see scenes from our own Highway 41 where an armoured security van had been deserted minus its cash. And, third, I was awoken just before midnight by the sound of groaning coming from the empty shop house beside mine. It was a while before I learned how these three events were connected."
Digital Dragon: The Road to Nirvana Runs Through the Land of Tao
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 13,300. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2017 by Proglen. Categories: Nonfiction » Art, Architecture, Photography » Architecture, Nonfiction » Art, Architecture, Photography » Fine art
Digital Dragon: The Road to Nirvana runs through the land of Tao offers a new perspective on art and science in East and West. Not widely known is that Far Eastern aesthetics played a crucial role in modernizing Western art and architecture. The merger of Western science and Far Eastern aesthetics is a key driver of our emerging planetary culture.
Number Two: When You Wish Upon a Star
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 6,220. Language: English. Published: October 28, 2017 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
Number Two: When You Wish Upon a Star is a fictional short story by Colin Cotterill. It is the second in a series of eBook short stories based on his fictional Thai woman journalist and crime solver, Jimm Juree. In this story a car drives into a river and a woman is dead. A terrible accident and a broken hearted husband. Or it would be if Jimm’s sixth sense hadn’t cut in.
Detektiv Exotisch
Price: $5.80 USD. Words: 40,270. Language: German. Published: October 9, 2017 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Der Detektiv Romeo besucht seine Mutter in Bangkok. Als der geplante Entspannungsurlaub langweilig zu werden droht, übernimmt er für sie eine Gefälligkeitsmission auf einer exotischen Insel. Was er als leichte Übung eingeschätzt hatte, mündet in eine schonungslose Abrechnung mit der Inselmafia vor dem Hintergrund einer schrecklichen Bluttat. Der begnadete Ermittler Romeo ist wieder da!
Escalating Disturbances
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 139,940. Language: English. Published: September 17, 2017 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Jack Jones wasn’t quite ya Nutty Professor but he was bordering on it. He was a down to earth odd-ball, fabulously wealthy and lived in the most gracious home nestled in acres of grounds in the heart of Hampstead Heath. (Lilliput Hall) Jack was happily married and had two kids; twins, a boy and a girl approaching their seventeenth birthdays.
Number One: The Funeral Photographer
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 6,710. Language: English. Published: September 16, 2017 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
The Funeral Photographer is the first in a new series of Colin Cotterill short stories featuring his female news reporter and detective, Jimm Juree. Fans of Jimm know her from the four novels where, with the help of the members of her strange family, she usually solves the crime. Move over Miss Marple, Jimm Juree does it for the 21st Century.
Going Places, Letting Go
Price: $5.95 USD. Words: 193,490. Language: English. Published: August 22, 2017 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general
Exploring the main themes of communication (or the lack of it) in today’s world; creating Art for its own sake; confronting a terminal disease; embracing Life as it is; work-place abuse by incompetent bosses; unrequited love for one’s spouse; searching for one’s true identity and place in society; and embarking on a mind-expanding spiritual journey – this novel has them all!
Shadow of the Barbarian
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 61,900. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2017 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
KUDA. More than a barbarian, less than a hero. From wild and wintry steppes to exotic cities. Amidst the flashing eyes and flowing hair of beautiful women Kuda the barbarian must draw steel against foul sorcery, savage tribesmen and treacherous pirates: In two titanic tales. SHADOW OF THE BARBARIAN & TEARS OF THE GODS Kick-Ass sword & sorcery re-booted for the twenty-first century.
Yankee Dragon
Price: $7.95 USD. Words: 109,180. Language: English. Published: March 26, 2017 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
In his first Hollywood novel: Tinsel Town - Another Rotten Day In Paradise, Newport didn’t gloss over the cracks in the scenery, the grit, the stench, the plain old fashioned blood and sweat that making movies is really about. Newport’s latest novel Yankee Dragon continues to take the reader behind the scenes of Hollywood in the 1990's.
Folktales of Bhutan
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 55,020. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general, Nonfiction » Travel » By region
From the author of Bhutanese Tales of the Yeti another dip into the library of the storytellers from the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Folktales of Bhutan is a collection of thirty-eight folktales and legends and is a first attempt by a Bhutanese to record in English the oral tradition of this kingdom in the eastern Himalayas.
East River
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 128,520. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Adventure » Action
A page turning novel about murder, corruption and money laundering within the walls of the UN and one of its peacekeeping operations.
Bangkok People
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 65,020. Language: English. Published: August 7, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » By region, Nonfiction » History » Asian
The profiles, mostly written for the Manager Magazine, before the 1997 Asian Economic Crisis of which the magazine ended up a victim, was from the time of Bangkok booming. Will it ever get quite up to those good-time heights again? Dig in and enjoy these vignettes of the real people who populated this wonderful city.
noch ein Bier
Price: $5.59 USD. Words: 45,490. Language: German. Published: July 30, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
J.Torings Geschichten sind in weit gestreuten Lebensbereichen angesiedelt. Sie sind heiter und amüsant, warmherzig und einfühlsam, vielschichtig aber schnörkellos, berührend und bisweilen bestürzend, manchmal skurril bis ins Absurde, immer sind sie jedoch höchst unterhaltsam. Mit trockenem Humor und einer Nuance Sarkasmus verdichtet er banale Begebenheiten zu Episoden des Lebens.
The Amok Runners
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 65,320. Language: English. Published: June 15, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
A detective crime novel set in Thailand featuring Jimm Juree, Colin Cotterill's fictional detective.
Thailand Timeline: History 1500-2015
Price: $9.95 USD. Words: 181,230. Language: English. Published: June 15, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Nonfiction » History » Asian, Nonfiction » History » Reference
Thailand Timeline is a chronology of Thai history from 1500 to 2015. It lists in sequence the main historical information during this period. Covering more than 500 years of its rich and varied history, Thailand Timeline runs to almost 200,000 words and over 7,000 individual entries.
Pattaya Strange
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 400. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Did you ever wonder what happened to Britain's saucy seaside postcards? They are alive and well and living in Pattaya, Thailand. Far naughtier than Brighton, Michael J. Baird has been producing this homage to our cultural past in the sin city itself, Pattaya. In this book Mike takes another look at how strange Pattaya can be at times.
Pattayas Beach Road
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 440. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Did you ever wonder what happened to Britain's saucy seaside postcards? They are alive and well and living in Pattaya, Thailand. Far naughtier than Brighton, Michael J. Baird has been producing this homage to our cultural past in the sin city itself, Pattaya. In this book Mike takes another look at Pattaya's famous Beach Road.
Pattaya: The Bars
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 440. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Did you ever wonder what happened to Britain's saucy seaside postcards? They are alive and well and living in Pattaya, Thailand. Far naughtier than Brighton, Michael J. Baird has been producing this homage to our cultural past in the sin city itself, Pattaya. In this book Mike takes look at Pattaya's many bars.
Ladyboy Book 1: Adult Cartoon Book
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 510. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Did you ever wonder what happened to Britain's saucy seaside postcards? They are alive and well and living in Pattaya, Thailand. Far naughtier than Brighton, Michael J. Baird has been producing this homage to our cultural past in the sin city itself, Pattaya. In this book Mike takes another look at Pattaya's transvestite community and its foreign customers.
Amuzing Thai Cartoons Book 2
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 620. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Did you ever wonder what happened to Britain's saucy seaside postcards? They are alive and well and living in Pattaya, Thailand. Far naughtier than Brighton, Michael J. Baird has been producing this homage to our cultural past in the sin city itself, Pattaya. In this book Mike takes another look at Pattaya's transvestite community and its foreign customers.
Amuzing Thai Cartoons Book 1
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 610. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Did you ever wonder what happened to Britain's saucy seaside postcards? They are alive and well and living in Pattaya, Thailand. Far naughtier than Brighton, Michael J. Baird has been producing this homage to our cultural past in the sin city itself, Pattaya. In this book Mike takes another look at Pattaya's transvestite community and its foreign customers.
Pattayas Unforgetable Memories
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 460. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Did you ever wonder what happened to Britain's saucy seaside postcards? They are alive and well and living in Pattaya, Thailand. Far naughtier than Brighton, Michael J. Baird has been producing this homage to our cultural past in the sin city itself, Pattaya.
Ladyboy Outrageous Cartoon Book 3
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 540. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Did you ever wonder what happened to Britain's saucy seaside postcards? They are alive and well and living in Pattaya, Thailand. Far naughtier than Brighton, Michael J. Baird has been producing this homage to our cultural past in the sin city itself, Pattaya. In this book Mike takes another look at Pattaya's transvestite community and its foreign customers. The Pattaya Mail has been printing M
Pattayas Cartoon Memories Volume 1
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 550. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
The Pattaya Mail has been printing Mike’s cartoons in their newspaper every week in black & white for the last 15 years under the pen name of M.J.B. Mike has built up a huge fan club who look forward to seeing what has sparked him off each week.
Something Else Again
Price: $5.95 USD. Words: 257,790. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2016 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Something Else Again set in France is the companion piece of Revolving Doors that took place in Thailand. It rounds out the trilogy that began with Behind the Folding Fan focusing on Old and New Japan. The final part of the trilogy concentrates on Arden, still haunted by personal loss and existential loneliness.
Thai Literature - An Introduction
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 42,140. Language: English. Published: December 3, 2015 by Proglen. Categories: Nonfiction » History » Asian, Essay » Literature
Thai Literature — An Introduction is a study of the extensive and diverse writings that form an integral part of the Thai literary tradition. The book has been divided into tentative periods beginning with the discovery of an inscription on a stele, erected in 1292 by Ram Kamhaeng, and concluding with an overview of contemporary Thai literature.
Detektiv Kaputt
Price: $5.49 USD. Words: 41,320. Language: German. Published: August 4, 2015 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Der Detektiv Romeo befindet sich am Tiefpunkt seines Lebens. Die allgemeine Weltwirtschaftskrise ist auch über die Ermittlungsbranche hereingebrochen. Existenzielle Sorgen und die Vorstellung einer Zukunft ohne Perspektiven haben ihn kaputt gemacht.
Thai Jinks
Price: $4.95 USD. Words: 74,780. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2015 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Nonfiction » Travel » By region
Through the eighties and nineties and into the new century we followed the humorous adventures of Jim Eckardt in both of Bangkok's daily English language newspapers, the Bangkok Post and the Nation. You see, things happened to Jim. It often involved beer. Some of these things weren't so good, but they were always funny and never dull.
Bleeding in Black and White
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 104,940. Language: English. Published: April 21, 2015 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Colin Cotterill creates a new member of his wonderful cast of characters in his latest book Bleeding in Black and White. He is CIA agent Robert "Bodge" Leon.
Maria and the Wicked Witch
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 4,830. Language: English. Published: March 18, 2015 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables
Two wonderful children’s stories are featured. In the first, Maria and the Wicked Witch, 6-year-old Maria, tricked by an evil witch, disobeys her parents, enters a forbidden forest and is taken captive. She uses all her wiles to escape from the witch. The second, The Three Crayons - Red, Blue and Green - are taken to a Village Fair by their parents Mom Brown Crayon and Dad Yellow Crayon.
Quest for The Rod of Moses
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 45,760. Language: English. Published: March 10, 2015 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Children’s books » Legends, Myths, Fables / General
A young warrior, Zarn, is chosen by Fairy Julietta to seek and obtain the Rod of Moses as the means to ensure the Royal Family of the Kingdom of Zamara has a male heir to the Royal Throne.
Revolving Doors
Price: $5.95 USD. Words: 148,660. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2015 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Historical » General
(5.00)
Set in Thailand, Revolving Doors is the companion piece of Behind the Folding Fan focusing on Old and New Japan. Revolving Doors finds the hero exploring a new country to him as he tries to reconnect with his soul-mate.
The Doomsday Earthquake
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 36,330. Language: English. Published: February 26, 2015 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables
A beautiful girl, Mandi Mandar, is chosen by the White Angel, Surora, to save the three Kingdoms of Aurora from destruction by a devastating earthquake being planned by three evil Wizards who live in the mountains and are unhappy with the rapidly increasing population in the Kingdoms.
Jax and the Wizard of Zandar
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 59,540. Language: English. Published: January 24, 2015 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
A brave young man, Jax, aided by a Fairy, embarks on a thrilling, captivating, perilous and frantic mission to save the Royal Family and the Kingdom of Zandar from a greedy, evil Wizard, and at the same time, prevent a horrible marriage between the Wizard and Princess Andara.
The Riddle
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 28,740. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2015 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy Tales & Folklore / Country & Ethnic
The book contains four wonderful, intriguing, exciting, captivating and thrilling fairy tales by Peter Halder. In the feature tale, The Riddle, a brave young man sets out to find an evil Enchanter who kidnapped the Royal baby. To destroy him and save the Royal child, the young man must solve a riddle.
The Rainbow's End
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 19,340. Language: English. Published: January 17, 2015 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Two wonderful, entertaining, captivating and enchanting fantasy tales. This pair of splendid tales are a treat for children of all ages.
The Three Princes
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 21,540. Language: English. Published: September 21, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Children’s books » Legends, Myths, Fables / Other
The Three Princes: Two Exciting Adventure Tales by Peter Halder The Three Princes combines a pair of exciting, breath-taking, action filled fairy tale adventures. Both tales are filled with strange events, thrills, magic and happy endings.
Alabama Days
Price: $4.95 USD. Words: 139,650. Language: English. Published: August 31, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
Alabama Days by James Eckardt, cover design by Colin Cotterill A few weeks after the 1965 Selma March, four teenage Catholic seminarians from Long Island arrive in Birmingham, Alabama, to work for Father Edmund Fraser in a door-to-door voter registration campaign. Nights, they return to the same black neighborhoods to play guitars and lead crowds in singing freedom songs.
It is the People: of Thailand and Other Countries
Price: $4.95 USD. Words: 68,620. Language: English. Published: August 25, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Literature » Literary
Thailand's premier author in the English language, Pira Sudham, is for the first time published in the ebook format. Best known for his novel Monsoon Country, this is an anthology of his short stories previously published in Tales of Thailand and People of Esarn. In It is the People are stories of hardship, land loss and the tourist sex trade to which so many of the young are drawn into.
A View from the Bench
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,230. Language: English. Published: August 4, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General, Fiction » African American fiction » Historical
A View from the Bench by Philip Small. This is a fascinating tale about a young boy mercilessly whipped by his teacher then later ordered to stand on the bench for the rest of the school term.
The Princess of the Forest
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,930. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy Tales & Folklore / Country & Ethnic
The Princess of the Forest Two stunning Fairy Tales that will evoke feelings of sadness and then joy over the fate of two beautiful young girls.
Hero the Warrior
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 30,870. Language: English. Published: July 29, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy Tales & Folklore / Country & Ethnic
Hero the Warrior Defender of the Forces of Good A quartet of fantastic, exciting and action packed Fairy Tale adventures which extol the conquest of good over evil.
The Dead Don’t Die
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 27,660. Language: English. Published: July 7, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Occult, Fiction » Horror » Undead
Macabre Supernatural Tales of Guyana. Blood-curdling, mind boggling and hair-raising supernatural tales embroidered with murder and mayhem. The cemetery, spirits and dark forces add unreal backgrounds to the tales.
The Dance of Death
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 21,240. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Occult, Fiction » Horror » Undead
The Dance of Death: Chilling Supernatural Tales from Guyana by Peter Halder A crypt of seven chilling, spell binding and spine tingling supernatural tales that portray the folklore of Guyana.
Falcon at the Court of Siam
Price: $4.95 USD. Words: 69,680. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General, Nonfiction » History » Asian
Set toward the end of the seventeenth century, Falcon at the Court of Siam recounts the true story of Constantine Phaulkon, a Greek of low birth who spectacularly rose to fame, and infamy, as King Narai's favourite courtier - in effect, if not in name, First Minister of Siam. No other foreigner, before or since, has ever held such a position of power and influence in Siam.
Naypyidaw: The New Capital of Burma
Price: $9.95 USD. Words: 51,110. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Nonfiction » Social Science » Developing & Emerging Countries, Nonfiction » Politics and Current Affairs » City planning
Naypyidaw: The New Capital of Burma examines the possible factors involved in the current relocation of the capital in order to enrich and enhance understanding about contemporary Burma/Myanmar in various aspects - including History, Geography, Political Science, Military Science, Economics, Sociology and Urban Architecture. Fully illustrated with maps and colour photographs.
Behind the Folding Fan
Price: $5.95 USD. Words: 151,170. Language: English. Published: June 25, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
(5.00)
This is a story of self-discovery and self-actualization. The main character, despite having realized the American Dream, is ill-at-ease in his cosmopolitan milieu. Sensing that something important is missing in his life, he hankers to relive experiences he once had in Asia. He naïvely seeks to renew, if not reinvent himself in Old Japan, which he considers his spiritual home.
Five Myths of Professional Gambling
Price: $4.95 USD. Words: 9,280. Language: English. Published: June 14, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Equestrian, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Gambling
This is a short book designed to dispel some of the lingering myths surrounding professional gambling. The author has been involved in the racing industry since the early 1970s and made his living from racing for a number of years in the early 1990s.
Tiger's Birthday Party
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 12,770. Language: English. Published: June 14, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Children’s books » Legends, Myths, Fables / General
A menagerie of seven amusing and entertaining animal tales each of which contains a moral. They are set in the rainforests of Guyana on South America's Caribbean coast.
Tinsel Town
Price: $7.95 USD. Words: 81,700. Language: English. Published: June 9, 2014 by Proglen. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
Tinsel Town: Another Rotten Day In Paradise "Tinsel Town is the best introduction-to-Hollywood novel I've ever read." David Giler, producer/writer of the films ALIEN, UNDISPUTED, MYRA BRECKINRIDGE and many more.
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Proglen's favorite authors on Smashwords


Smashwords book reviews by Proglen

  • The Book of Answers on July 18, 2011

    Reviewer--Collin Piprell (www.collinpiprell.com). I had the pleasure of reading an early review copy of C.Y. Gopinath's debut novel. *The Book of Answers* promises even greater success than his globetrotting chronicle *Travels with the Fish( (HarperCollins India, 1999). Released just this month, also by HarperCollins India, *The Book of Answers* has already appeared on the bestseller list in that country. I’m going to don my “let’s pitch this book to a modern market” hat, something I find hard to do with my own books and hesitate to do with Gopinath’s debut novel for fear of doing it an injustice. Anyway, here goes: Think, an Indian Jonathan Swift turns to magical realism with a message for readers everywhere. Alternatively, we could describe the novel as a fabulist satire wherein a Clarke Kent hero represents the potential of Everyman to take a stand and fight against those absurd and often evil (often bureaucratic) forces that shape our lives. Readers in Thailand might almost believe that former and newly de facto PM Thaksin Shinawatra had seen the book in manuscript and used it as a manual for retaking power. The book is compulsively readable. I found myself reluctant to skim passages for fear of missing any of the gems scattered across every page. Gopinath sketches his hugely entertaining characters with sure and economical strokes. I enjoyed all of them, from the Convener and the godman to B Plus and the “doctor of venereal diseases,” with his very entertaining medical examination of Pat and Rose, the central characters. The author’s treatment of Indian English, meanwhile, is both warmly funny and minimalist, in no way obtrusive. In the course of one entertaining dialogue, for example, “codswallop” devolves by stages into “shit,” the speaker’s Anglophiliac try for elegance nicely derailed. “More banging for a buck,” in another conversation, is enough to comically conjure, without further ado, the voice Gopinath wanted. “Gourment” (see the extract, below) is how Indian bureaucrats pronounce “government,” and it includes connotations sorely missing in the conventional expression. The book is also a structural success. Among other features, it presents an excellent conclusion, something too many otherwise good novels lack. En route, Gopinath consistently leaves the reader hanging at the end of each chapter, wanting more, and introduces each successive chapter with a surprise. In the first chapter, the hero’s proto-obsessive compulsive negotiation of Mumbai's streets and his collision with the Fat Man is superbly realized. And what an idea is introduced shortly thereafter! A blind calligrapher of unknown provenance has inscribed wisdom for times not yet here in a mysterious tome known as The Book of Answers, recording details of the future produced by that calligrapher's lover, chief cook for a client's household. That’s followed hard upon by in introduction to “The Ministry of Errors and Regrets.” This venerable institution applies the principle of wringing every possible lesson from a mistake by repeating that error as often as possible. Gopinath adopts a wonderfully comic voice, kind of like Flann O'Brien describing a meeting chaired by the Mad Hatter, the agenda set by Kafka. (The latter individual would have appreciated a ministerial interview to determine whether Pat, the hero, and Rose, his companion, were rich or poor.) The story as a whole is a delightful tapestry woven from such threads as the eponymous Book of Answers itself; the Ministry for Errors and Regrets; Rose's scrapbook of omens; the dynamic between Pat, his friend Arindam, and Rose, who turns out to be Arindam's wife; Pat's comic love-life with Rose; and the rather moving development of Pat's relationship with his son Tippy, as Tippy himself is gradually revealed as much more than the klutz we first meet, the lad with “content-free eyes” tipped back in a chair chewing gum. Here’s just a taste from the hilariously barbed banquet: “We live in times of world ending. Kali yug, as we say in the scriptures. The Convener believes our country is in doldrums. Gourment is committed but man can only do so much. Shri Ishwar Prasad is facing challenges of lifetime, struggling with national problems such as upcoming elections, crime, literacy, terrorism, democracy, women's liberation, abortion, sexual slavery, judicial backlog, and a bankrupt treasury. While he is doing all this —” “We are not fooled,” said Rose. “Your boss heads a government in charge of pulling wool over people's eyes. The reality is that it’s a government of lies.” Her eyes blazed at the Convener’s Personal Assistant. “You make a good point,” Janki Ram continued reasonably. “But concept of pulling wool is rooted in Hindu philosophy and spirituality. Shri Ishwar Prasad says reality is overrated. It's a nice idea, of course, but it doesn't exist. The Convener’s only wants to make this acceptable to our struggling millions. He is not sidetracked by the facts. He is concerned with the truth.” Such ideas, expressed differently, figure prominently in another book I've just read. Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, by Chris Hedges, is a bleak jeremiad that appears to leave little option other than fleeing the planet. I prefer the darkly comic recourse offered by The Book of Answers. www.collinpiprell.com