Every day, there is some news or the other that is disturbing. From a completely neutral point of view, my heart especially goes out to some. These are events that touch the heart, and make us wonder where life is headed. One of the movies I’ve grown up adoring but hating deals with the subject that Kishore Modak deals with in his novel Lost in Pattaya. To lose someone close to us is always tough. To lose a child is more difficult. It’s hard even to imagine.
Lost in Pattaya begins with the narration of the father, retracing his steps on the fateful day on which he tells his young daughter to cross a street to her mother only to see later that child has been abducted mid-crossing. The loss puts him at the crossroads of life, where he decides, having lost his wife already after the traumatic incident, to quit from his well-settled job and lifestyle, and head to the brothels of Pattaya and search for his daughter Li Ya. He meets the pimp queen Thuy Binh there. But does he find Li Ya?
Lost in Pattaya can best be described as a novel that confuses the reader a bit, perhaps. The reader is left wondering whether to be sad for Palash, the father or be angry at him. His character is laced with these qualities. You feel moved by the fatherly character as he moves earth and heaven to find his daughter, but you also feel irked because it is his casual attitude that leads to Li Ya going missing in the first place. Also, his addictions add to that feeling of irritation. The narration is slow, almost dry in the opening part and I found it a little difficult to push on. The later parts though had enough pace in them to keep me interested. The character sketching too is well done.
To keep the reader engaged given the setting of the story might be difficult, but I think it manages that with ease. It’s more than just a father’s hunt for his lost daughter. If the initial feeling to put the book down and stop reading can be overcome, the story has mystery in it, with characters and an out-of-the-box narration. It’s that difference that might make the difference perhaps.
Title: Lost in Pattaya
Author: Kishore Modak
Publisher: Grapevine India
Price: INR 150
(16th December 2014)