The mistress of domestic drama

Krisna Asoksin, 82, on how technology has made things easier

The name of Krisna Asoksin, the esteemed writer, still evokes public attention. At the launch of a translated English version of her famous book Poon Pid Thong at Kinokuniya bookstore in Siam Paragon earlier this month, big names in the local literary circle showed up. (Even the media luminary Suthichai Yoon humbly took a back seat).

Home is where the heart is: Famous novelist Sukanya Cholasueks, aka Krisna Asoksin, says her house is the centre of her being, a place where she is surrounded by everything she treasures the most

Such respect is not surprising. Honoured as a National Artist in 1988, the 82-year-old has penned 150 novels and shows no signs of stopping. Classified as "domestic drama", her work easily transcends the genre. Fans look for drama and inspiration from characters, while TV scriptwriters look for plots that guarantee high ratings. And at the distant ivory tower, scholars study social change and the evolution of Thai females' roles in society.

Krisna talks to Life about her reading list and her iPad2.

— Anchalee Kongrut

Which book is on your bedside table?

Being an octogenarian, it is difficult to remember which book I am reading. But I usually come back to read Ngao Si Khao (White Shadow) when I feel jaded from exposure to too much overly florid prose. Dan-Aran Saengthong’s words are so raw, full of force, offering a good counterbalance. This enormously talented writer simply uses words to bare his emotions. I just got a copy of his latest book Asorapit Lae Ruang Uen Uen (Venom And Other Stories) and plan to read it.

Which book influenced your writings?

Pra Prathom Som Bhoti Kata, an ancient biography of the Lord Buddha written in ancient Balinese. [The book was translated into Thai 169 years ago by Krom Phra Paramanujit Jinorasa.] The book strengthened my interest to study and practice Buddhism, and the prose is astonishingly lyrical. After reading this book I created a new pen name, “Sabai Muang”, to write novels on Buddhist beliefs.

What are your favourite books and authors?

There are so many books and writers that impress me, and it is hard to single out anyone as each writer has their own magnum opus, but it is impossible to like all books by one writer. I grew up reading the entire collection of Dokmai Sot and love them all. As a young reader, I also read all the books penned by Duangdao and all the short stories by Or Udakorn. Reading those books inspired me to write.

Do you know about e-books and do you read them?

My daughter gave me an iPad2 and I use it regularly. I really like my iPad to do research for my writing. You would not believe how hard it was in the old days to research. Google has come to the rescue and released us from that burden. Yet, I never read books or novels on the iPad, nor do I intend to do so. I am a traditionalist who can never let go of the old habit of holding books in my hands.

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