Yoon’s wonderful and delightful meta-fictional tales explore various aspects of life in modern Thailand. The stories are full of wit and whimsicality, from the story of the strange, potentially romantic encounter on a bus between a men who is entranced by the abnormally gap a stranger leaves between her letters, to the glib advertiser who seeks an emotional connect via one of his adverts which acts as a paean to his youth and the classical music of his grandmother and horror films of his grandfather.
The sense of playfulness with which Yoon imbues the novel belies the serious messages he is attempting to convey. From the loneliness and isolation of life in the urban sprawl of Thailand in ‘Pen in Parenthesis’, to the ubiquity of the police state in ‘Something in the Air’, to the prevalence of violence against women in sex tourism in ‘The Disappearance of a She-Vampire in Pattaya’, to the inability of people to express their emotions in ‘The Crying Parties’, Yoon uses humour to explore the sense of sadness and isolation which pervades the lives of the character he depicts.
Not only that, but the sense of artistry which Yoon is able to interweave in the narrative, such as rain being described as “dusky gray clumps hung in the sky above the capital, converging there from all points of the compass. This confluence of water vapour created a swollen sense of saturation, a stifling swelter and a rumbling roar” allows Yoon to weave a unique sense of beauty into the tapestry of the narrative.