Thailand 1996. The Year of The Rat. Pete, a young travel writer, wanders into a Bangkok go-go bar and meets the love of his life. Joy is the girl of his dreams, young, stunningly pretty, and one of the Zombie Bar's top-earning pole dancers.
What follows is a roller-coaster ride of sex, drugs, and deception, as Pete discovers that his very own private dancer is not all she claims to be. And that far from being the girl of his dreams, Joy is his own personal nightmare.
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Excellent! Couldn't put it down.
I read lots of reviews on this (on Goodreads etc) before purchasing it. Some hated it, those wanting lots of detailed sex, and those for whom the sleazy context and incidents were too much. I was struck by the reviews of many readers who have lived in Bangkok and recognised this as an accurate account. Although the characters were not richly drawn insofar as we learned little about them other than what was happening day-to-day and their views on it. However, this did not detract from the story at all. This was all about exploring the psychosocial relationships in and around the sex industry in Bangkok. I don't Like spoilers and I won't give them here. Suffice to say that Pete was a somewhat sympathetic character early on, but for me, later, not so much. Joy, on the other hand seemed entirely predatory at first, but later I had learned enough to see that her motivation was not malicious. This book is entertaining, gripping, often uncomfortable listening/reading, but more thought provoking and illuminating than anything I have read or listened to before. The ending is not predictable and the narration is perfect.
- Ann D
Loved it, a real eye opener!