|About the Book|
These four stories reflect the Southeast Asia of today, in the spirit of the earlier stories of W. Somerset Maugham.During a diplomatic dinner in Singapore, four young men from the diplomatic colony discover a common interest in storytelling. ToMoreThese four stories reflect the Southeast Asia of today, in the spirit of the earlier stories of W. Somerset Maugham.During a diplomatic dinner in Singapore, four young men from the diplomatic colony discover a common interest in storytelling. To pass the time, each tells a story of the region that fills in for readers facets of life in this exotic area. As the friends remember, their respective American, British, French and Russian nationalities are entirely appropriate, given the fact that O. Henry, Chekhov, Somerset Maugham and Guy de Maupassant are considered masters of the short story.Robbie Cutler from the American Embassy has just arrived in Singapore that weekend, on his very first diplomatic assignment. His father had been assigned there many years previously, so Robbie is familiar with some of the background of the nation island. In the introduction, Down The Rabbit Hole, Robbie’s hectic weekend arrival is traced, as he settles into temporary quarters, and sees something of the island. Like Alice’s adventure, he discovers that it is another world, with its own rules and history. Robbie’s story, Under The Durian Trees, recalls the time of his father’s diplomatic assignment in Singapore, and the murder that took place at the residence of the Consul General.At their next gathering, Basil Kamirkoff from the Russian Embassy relates the Disappearance From Moonlight Cottage. This tells about the celebrated disappearance in 1967 of Jim Thompson, the “Thai silk king,” during his visit to Moonlight Cottage in the Cameron Highlands in central Malaysia, a mystery that remains unsolved to this day. As the friends try to puzzle out what happened to Thompson, the history and atmospherics of the Malayan interior become vividly etched.Next, James McLarty from the British Embassy tells his story, Man Of The Forest, about his trip to Sabah in East Malaysia, on the northeastern tip of the island of Borneo. His climb up Mount Kota Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, gives him a vivid view of the sunrise over the South China Sea, and the changing beauties of jungle, rain forest and alpine flowers and animals. A booming call from the jungle prompts his guide to tell McLarty about the Orang Utans and attempts to save them, which a visit to the Sepilok Refuge near Sandakan, Sabah, etches vividly in McLarty’s mind.The fourth story, Isabelle, told by Etienne Marigot from the French Embassy, takes us back to the siege of Dien Bien Phu, and the war in what was French Indochina. A surprising and unexpected visitor to the Marigot home in the Dordogne region of southwestern France brings an eyewitness account of a French sergeant’s valiant struggle for survival after the battle.Southeast Asia is a fascinating part of the world, remote, alien and exotic. See it in your imagination as this first collection of Robbie Cutler stories takes you to another time and place.