(2004 / 2017, 288 pages)
English edition of Prachatipatai Bon Sen Kanan (1994)
Translated by Prisna Boonsinsukh
SEA Write Award 1997
Best novel Thailand National Book Award 1995
Democracy in Thailand was born in Paris, a lofty ideal hatched by a handful of intellectuals. When the People's Party propelled Thailand into a democracy in 1932, most Thai people were not ready for it. They saw it only as a power game that diminished their most revered king and gave carte blanche to bottomless corruption by people in power. The next sixty years saw Thailand going through more than fifteen changes of government, at least tens of them by force. The usually bloodless coups turned bloodbath the last couple of times, with atrocities that made world's headlines.
In the wilderness at the border between Thailand and Laos, two men met and fought a duel as deadly enemies. They both lived to become grudging friends, all the time walking the parallel lines of democracy : one sworn to topple and uproot corrupted governments, the other, while equally disgusted with the abusing of power, was duty bound to uphold their lawful authorities.
Their combined experiences gave us tantalizing behind-the-scene glimpses into all the major rebellions and coups between 1933 and 1992. Win Lyovarin weaved fictional and real characters, fictitious and documented events into a colourful fabric of an historical novel of extraordinary power and perception.
Democracy, Shaken & Stirred won him the first of his two SEA Write Awards, the top accolade in South East Asia, in 1997. The book has now been included in the recommended reading list for students of Political Science in most universities in Thailand.
"This is a treat. It is hard to find any Thai novel from the last 20 years in English translation. This is one of the most famous and most popular... It was probably so popular because of its ambitious aim to present 60 years of Thailand’s modern history in a fictional form. In Thai schools, this history is mangled and suppressed. Win Lyovarin tells his story against a background of real historical events and real historical characters... This is an ambitious and important novel, and it’s a treat to have it in English translation."
"A fascinating book, well written and thought out."
"A fascinating view of Thai political upheavals."
"One of the best novels ever written. If you want to know about Thai political background while being entertained, this is the book for you. It's based on true events novel delivered with a very unique form of writing."