In Richard Arthur's I of the Sun, a backpacker sets off for Southeast Asia to experience new cultures, to understand himself and life better, to forge a new beginning. The backpacker falls in love with Thailand's party scene, girls and natural beauty, while pondering the origin of the universe, the nature of cause and effect, the extent of free will _ all in a haze of uppers, downers, hallucinogens and casual relationships. Along the way he catches dengue fever and skin infections, becomes addicted to any number of substances and thrills, feels a bit of sympathy for others in their plights and a lot more for himself in his.
I OF THE SUN: By Richard Arthur, 356pp, 2012 Matador paperback. Available at all good bookshops for 450 baht.
Sound vaguely familiar? It would take an exceptional talent to pull this off, mainly because similar roads have been travelled many times over the years. Expats the world over, students in gap years, travellers of the hippie trail and vagabonds of the mind have suffered similar excesses, triumphs, failures and epiphanies.
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