13 January 2007

Kira Kira คิระ คิระ งามระยับดั่งดวงดาว

Kira Kira, a lovely novel by Cynthia Kadohata, has recently been translated into Thai by one of my close friends, Sudakarn Patamadilok. So I took this chance to review this book to boost the already successful sale, as well as to leave my reflections on the book so that they will not come to pester me later.

A lot of people would classify this as children's literature, but I beg to differ. It has got a lot to offer to adult readers too, as the messages here are relevent perhaps more to adults than to children. One narrative layer of this novel is about a relationship between two sisters, Lynn and Katie, with a clearly Bildungsroman overtone. Underlying this narrative is another layer of darker truths, i.e. racial discrimination and capitalism. Kadohata is a great story-teller who manages to weave all these two layers together and makes it a pleasant read. I did finish it all in one go last night.

The characterisation is craftily done, as both Katie and Lynn are round characters, sometimes devilishly naughty sometimes innocently thoughtful, but what is impressive is that both learn to live together and understand each other, partly because of the harsh economic problems that surround their family. Both of their parents work hard to support the family whereas they grow up to learn to assist whenever and wherever they can. The ending comes a bit as a shock but I could see it coming. But a good, optimistic turn follows, giving a wonderful message of growth and self-learning. I'd like to suggest this lovely novel to middle-class youngsters in Thailand who are incredibly spoiled and never learn the harsh realities of life as they're too well-protected. I'm sure it'll make them look at their life in a new light and appreciate life more.

Perhaps a good book may just serve this purpose -- to make one appreciate one's and others' lives more.

1 comment:

I Colori delCosmo said...

did Snownoi do a good job in translation?