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In 'The Glass Kingdom,' Bangkok is the star

Thailand-based author Lawrence Osborne on his first novel set in the capital

Lawrence Osborne in his Bangkok apartment. The cozy yet slightly decaying surroundings immediately outside it heavily inspired his latest novel, "The Glass Kingdom." (Photo by Nana Chen)

BANGKOK -- Deep in a leafy side street off hectic Sukhumvit Road sits the aging apartment block where the Thai capital's foremost foreign novelist lives and works. Bucolic and peaceful, yet within easy reach of the area's glut of chichi restaurants and Japanese cocktail joints, malls, spas and health food stores, this affable milieu has served Lawrence Osborne well for the past eight years.

On his balcony, where he writes from late afternoon to evening, often to the sounds of cicadas and tree frogs, he has penned six novels, most of which are being turned into movies. "It's like a village, a microcommunity," he says while we sit on the patio of his go-to coffee shop, located just a few steps from the neat gardens and portcullis gate of his building. "Listen: It's really quiet. I love it. This is what I want for my environment."

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