Sunday, August 16, 2015


"Americans on a Klong" by Madonna Rosenfield   638 pages   $25

Set in the late '60s this is a memoir and guide book and vivid recall of scenes in Bangkok mainly although taking advantage of the proximity to Nepal and India she and her girlfriends toured them, too.  Her husband, a pilot for Air America (CIA,) encouraged her.  To say the bloom was off of the rose is rather more than true.  

Her son from a previous marriage and their son and the couple lived together in a spacious home with three servants - the housekeeper, her assistant and a gardener/handyman in a house overlooking the canal (klong) that ran alongside the house. 

They socialized with other Air America personnel. 

She and her husband had a passion for animals and housed three gibbons of varying ages, a duck, a  cat and two chickens. 

Madonna has a gift for taking the reader along with her with vivid descriptions of the natives, the colorful markets, modes of transportation (rickety airplanes and  over-stuffed trains) and the scenery.

It's a very interesting book made no less so by the fact that I and fellow members of the South Bay Writers at the time heard this book as she wrote it.  I think the ending may surprise you.

"Driving Hungry" by Layne Mosler  Pantheon Books   306 pages $24.95

I rarely cease to be surprised at the number of bloggers who turn their works into a book.  This is as bizarre as I've ever heard.

Mosler spends three years in Buenos Aires to learn to dance the tango.  One day she asks her cab driver his favorite restaurant and the blog is off, fork in hand.

She returns to Manhattan and becomes a cabbie herself.  Quickly stressed, she goes to visit Berlin because she hears that the cabbies there are as knowledgeable about Nietzsche as the streets.   This isn't anything I'd go looking for, but she soon meets a cab driver who adores his writings.  They fall in love.

It's an improbable story and a good source for restaurants in all three countries.

Tomorrow we will tackle the tale of a man who fights to keep his 102 year old father alive. 

No comments: