The Occidentals

Category: Books
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Author: Caron Eastgate James
ISBN : 974-8237-34-6
Taken from my official site : http://luluone.multiply.com/reviews/item/78
About the Author : She is a journalist who has worked on newspapers and magazines in New Zealand, Australia, and Thailand. She holds a Master of Art degree in literary studies .The Occidentals is her first novel.

Hover over the read the brief synopsis taken from the book;
Hover over hereThe story begins in 1868, when English photographer Edward Fairburn ventures to Siam to photograph the mysterious land and its exotic people. Edward’s motive for his Far Eas sojourn, however, is not only adventure, but also to escape from the disappointments of his marriage to Charlottte, whom he has left in Australia with their young daughter Elizabeth. Mesmerized by the beauty of the Siamese women, Edward soon takes a mistress, Kesri- who gives birth to a daughter , Anchalee.. When Charlotte arrives unexpectedly in Siam with Elizabeth, she is distraught to discover both her husband’s affair and the fruit of his secret liaison.

A story of an ambitious girl ; A Siamese ( now Thai) who wants to get ahead in life so instantly that the only way out in her opinion is to become a mistress of a farang ( among Thais; it is to describe a European or other foreigner. The same case as in Indonesia, we use “Bule” to refer to any foreign people.) But wait! This isn’t merely about Siam and Siamese (Thailand and Thais ), but also other parts of the world. But I’d say this is about complicated intercontinental relationship( Eurasian relationship).. I am not saying “The Occidentals” is pure romance, it is not; it’s more than just a romance, which usually involves two or three people. Having finished reading the novel, I tried to figure out the family tree, and saw the connections among people involved in the story- well perhaps this is just a fun information I would like to share to you.

This story is rich of hatred, love or even unrequited love, friendship, betrayal, ambitions, loyalty, and secrecy which are mixed with either local customs or foreign ones. When two customs are blended into one roof, this often causes some endangered situations if neither of both sides want to talk openly. There are some broken English in the story as for that time ( 1865)only few Siamese could speak English; this is interesting as this really tells how the conditions of the people at that time. I would say this is also a vendetta against someone as revenge. The revenge that takes for more than 30 years to come to an end; Now can you imagine how many generations would be involved? How about incest as a part of being too selfish to reveal the secret of the past? One of the characters in the story, whom I think was the angel of mercy, spoke to me “No, I can’t tell the secret. I am under oath.”, and I responded sarcastically without uttering “Ugh!!!”
The Phantom of the past that haunts the next generation’s life. The revenge that takes many people’s happiness. Who is the rotten apple in the story? Well, frankly speaking, I don’t think there is, I don’t want to spill the beans, but I’d say “Your Ego is your biggest enemy. Your ego could kill you yourself, even your descendant..”

Speaking of the plots, there are quite many flashbacks which make the story is indeed interesting. If life were only to eat and read, then certainly I would have finished this a quite-thick book in just about two days. The plots are moving, each page gives you so many tense schemes that you can’t wait to turn the next page, to know how the story’s going to end. This story could really make me in tears instantly, curse ( hehe yes, curse) directly. I even gasped and uttered “Oh ! My!” I was so immersed in the story that I could even really imagine how the plots would look like if ever the novel were made into a movie.

Speaking of the ending, I was very relieved how it ended; it was the “perfect” ending!. (nothing is really perfect), the “perfect” way to redeem. But all I am saying; the ending managed to make me hold my smile on my face for some time. Then I proudly returned the book to IALF by saying “Yes!!”

As always, let me introduce you to my friends, whom I call “Bunches of adjectives.”
They are Ms. Surprising, Ms. Adamant, Mrs. Deceitful, and Mr. Loathsome (“Pak Mbencekno”-as I say the adjective in Javanese

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9 CommentsChronologicalReverseThreaded

gkluit wrote on Dec 1
Sounds like a good read. Unfortunately I can’t find title or author in the catalog of the library… Snif!

luluone wrote on Dec 1
awww, that’s bummer! ( sigh) I should have a copy for this- this is really good.

gkluit wrote on Dec 1
Well, fortunately I still have a big stack of books to read. So I’ll just get on with them! 🙂

luluone wrote on Dec 1
good news! I am pretty sure they are crying out aloud asking you to read them

mislizhollywood wrote on Dec 2
I added it to my reading list, which is getting quite long. I guess I need to add reading to my list of things I want to do.

luluone wrote on Dec 2
my reading list isn’t as long as yours perhaps, since most of the books I have reviewed here are books I borrowed from IALF, I do have some books of my own, which is none of them I have read yet, hehe, and they have been in my personal library for quite some time. I think that’s a good idea Liz:-) but I know how busy you can be and that reading will be on the last list.

onlymissy wrote on Dec 9

I added it to my reading list, which is getting quite long. I guess I need to add reading to my list of things I want to do.

She took the words out of my mouth… LOL… I like the passion for life itself described through your review, Lulu. I need help getting the book… looks like a bit difficult here. Thank you for sharing this… I enjoyed it very much! 🙂 Hugs!!!

gilesy01 wrote on Dec 9
Interesting. How far-fetched was it? The books in that sort of genre over here are usually completely unbelievable.

sundarimichael wrote on Dec 10
well, have to check, nih :)))
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2 responses to “The Occidentals

  1. Hi Lulu! I cannot believe I didn’t notice this blog and thank you for listing me, it means so much…you are wonderful.

    Sounds like a good book and you have written an excellent review. I will read it after I finish a few I’m currently reading. Have a great day 🙂

  2. HI Bobby! I made this blog sometime ago, yet I wasn’t sure when I was going to use it. Now I know this is the time new Year! yay!!
    You should read this book this is great!
    Have a great day for you too Bobby! thanks for dropping by! since you were the first to comment, you deserver a present for me! wait until new year LOL

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