The Paradise Eater

John Ralston Saul, Author McGraw-Hill Companies $0 (270p) ISBN 978-0-07-054865-7
This provocative story from the well-traveled author of Baraka and The Next Best Thing is as much a novel of seedy Asian atmosphere as it is a satisfying thriller. John Field is a former Canadian journalist who has lived in Thailand for 20 years. Friendly with both a saintly doctor to the poverty-stricken and an eccentric American businesswoman who talks regularly to her dead husband, Fields has sunk comfortably to the underside of Bangkok life. Having slept with dozens of bargirls and contracted venereal diseases numerous times, he finds that his latest bout seems resistant to cure. He calls regularly on a Thai madame and a reporter-turned-guide to the X-rated pleasures of the city. When his eccentric friend, Catherine Laker, sends him to Vientiane as her agent in a coffee deal, the Canadian embassy asks him also to look in on two of his former friends working for the U.N. in the Laotian capital. What he discovers, however, are their mutilated corpses. And from the time he escapes Laos until his return to Bangkok, Field flees unknown enemies who believe he should be dead, too. From its pigpens, monsoon-flooded streets and slums, to the European country clubs, Bangkok is brought alive by the skilled travel-writer in Saul. In his own literate way, Saul has done for Bangkok something of what Raymond Chandler did for hardboiled Los Angeles. (October)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-449-21790-0
Paperback - 270 pages - 978-0-679-30898-0
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