|Nana Plaza - Photo Credit|
There are many, many books that follow the story of the disillusioned foreign guy who comes to Thailand, falls in love with a bar girl, and then it turns out not everything is as it seems. Many Westerners don't understand that romance and financial support are essentially one in the same in Thai culture, and they feel that the women are taking advantage of them. The Thai woman in the story assumes that everything is milk and honey in the West and their obese companion is a walking ATM machine. It's been done many times before. The best book on the subject is by far Stephen Leather's Private Dancer, butthere are far too many imitations
So, I'm not completely head over heels for the newest bar girl book, Eric Rogers' Bangkok Vanishing, but let's give it a chance. He has an interview in a local newspaper back stateside:
He displays that love and understanding in his fledgling novel, Bangkok Vanishing, which he describes as a "gritty crime thriller."
It is the story of Blake Lawrence, an American in Bangkok who finds himself involved with a bar girl. That girl's boyfriend, a hard-core criminal, tries to blackmail Lawrence, sending a DVD of the pair's involvement to Lawrence's wife. Lawrence calls on two of his Marine buddies to help him deal with the blackmailer. "I've met a lot of characters over there," Rogers said. "An expat in Thailand is a different personality. A lot blend seamlessly into the culture."Sounds like a pretty interesting read, and the book appears to try to buck some of the cliches. There's no shortage of craziness that happens in Thailand, which helps provide ideas for authors who have spent time out here. However, I'm not sure if Rogers would think my Thai wife was "pliable and submissive" if he met her. I certainly don't. Most of the Thai women I've met over the years may appear to be nice and gentle upon first impression, but behind the scenes they always run the show in any relationship. Just ask my wife, who once confiscated my ATM card because I spent 160 THB (~$5) on a magazine without asking her. Yeah, I'm wearing the pants around here.
Western men, Rogers noted, are attracted to Thai women. "They seem more pliable and submissive" than Western women, he noted. "They allow men to make more decisions. They have softer personalities than Western women. They are also very exotic."
Anyhoo, if you're into sleaze and deception in your fiction like I am, the bar girl books are always a fun read.