Tourists come to Bangkok for many reasons: a night of love, a stay in a luxury hotel, or simply to disappear for a while. Lawrence Osborne comes for the cheap dentistry, and then stays when he finds he can live off just a few dollars a day.
Osborne's Bangkok is a vibrant, instinctual city full of contradictions. He wanders the streets, dining on insects, trawling through forgotten neighbourhoods, decayed temples and sleazy bars.
Far more than a travel book, Bangkok Days explores both the little-known, extraordinary city and the lives of a handful of doomed ex-patriates living there, 'as vivid a set of liars and losers as was ever invented by Graham Greene' (New York Times).
Thailand inspires such enthralled romanticism that it also invites great cynicism and it is a feat to acknowledge all its complexities and graces, as Osborne does, without ever quite surrendering to them
He is a first-rate observer and analyst... Any Westerner curious to take a decadent Oriental trip with a writer you can trust to keep you turning the pages should pick up a copy
He vividly sketches the characters he meets: a man with a degree in air-conditioning, one with an air of "upper-class twittery"... Osborne's travelogue is, however, memorably touching
With a brief stint as a gigolo, insights into the Buddhist interpretation of transgender 'kathoeys', and several friendships with various wayward desolates, Osborne maintains a lively note to proceedings throughout... this book has an underlying sense of warmth and genuine fondness for its subject matter
He uses language with great skill, and the sounds and smells of Bangkok are wonderfully evoked. Osborne's writing conveys a geniune love for the city