Canadian Jim Algie has spent 17 years writing for local publications. The dark, sexy stories he’s covered form the backbone of this collection of essays focusing on eccentric Thailand, “a Twilight Zone where nothing is what it seems” he writes. It could have been a tabloid-style hatchet job that paints the country as a grotesque freakshow, but it isn’t. Whether he’s hanging out with Thailand’s sex workers, cowboys or sacred tortoises, Algie is never anything but the model feature writer, bringing empathy, balance, wit and no small amount of research to his subjects.
Over 24 sprawling chapters this engaging approach continues, before closing with a ‘Directory of the Bizarre’, so you can track down the places featured (if you dare). We’ll be dipping in to Bizarre Thailand for some time, we fancy. From the rock musician who traded in his guitar for an executioner’s machine gun to the first lady of forensics, it’s an irreverent celebration of what makes this country such a curiosity: its people.
Jim Algie | Maverick House | 335pp | B524