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Touch the Dragon: A Thai Journal by Karen…

Touch the Dragon: A Thai Journal

by Karen Connelly

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1183166,210 (3.7)6
Canadian poet Karen Connelly was a young woman when she left home to live for one year in Denchai, a small farming community in northern Thailand. This lyrical portrait of her true-life adventures radiates wit and literary charm. The swampy jungles, the lure of hedonistic Bangkok, the austere, ambient Buddhism, and the torrential rains serve as backdrops for Connelly’s carefully crafted prose. Her account combines a keen sense of adventure with an affinity for Thai culture, chronicling the country’s intriguing underpinnings and exotic charms.… (more)
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Wow... This book of journal entries of a 17-year old Canadian who spent a year in a Northern Thai town in the mid-1980's is beautiful. Her language attains poetic heights consistently. I felt I experienced her transformation from arrival to departure. Her insights are innocent and honest. She presents sharp details and stories that weave an almost-magical but down-to-earth portrayal of her struggles, her adjustment and ultimately her endearing comfort during her visit. ( )
  ming.l | Mar 31, 2013 |
In this travel memoir, seventeen-year-old Connelly wins a Canadian Rotary Club scholarship and subsequently lives for a year in an isolated village in Thailand during the 1980’s. She must learn the language and customs quickly, as her host family speaks only Thai and her new school requires her to read and write in the same difficult tongue, using an unfamiliar alphabet, to boot. Her experience evolves from fear through loneliness, on to frustration and finally a deep and abiding love for the people and their country. It will be a familiar journey for anyone who has traveled far afield to discover humanity at the heart of what at first appears to be an alien universe.

Connelly compiled her story several years later, drawing from the notes and journals in which she kept copious notes at the time. A poet, she uses a lyrical yet precise writing style, complemented by events and dialogue which are both convincing and fascinating. Thus, she captures the essence of a people who are much changed today, as well as the tender yet insightful emotions of a young girl facing the challenges of a foreign language, religion, tradition and lifestyle. She is marvelously successful in her journey, and in sharing it with the reader. Having laid the completed book aside, I find it difficult to shake the feeling that I have just returned from Thailand, that strange and marvelous world to which Connelly has opened my eyes and my heart. ( )
3 vote kambrogi | Mar 6, 2008 |
Another book which is really a journal. I found the book to be a little bit disjointed. The story was interesting but the book My Pen Rye is a much better book along the same lines. ( )
  ngennaro | Aug 16, 2006 |
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