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Books: 'Slow steps' to healing Thailand

Portraying an unequal society, Tew Bunnag spiritually unites rich and poor

Bangkok-born and British-educated writer Tew Bunnag works with hospices and hospitals dealing with patients facing end-of-life issues, so perhaps it is natural that redemption and healing are two themes of "Slow Steps to Love," his latest novel.  (All photos courtesy of Tew Bunnag)

Tew Bunnag left Bangkok at age 6 for a British education and now lives in Spain, writing part-time in English while teaching tai chi and working in a hospice. With this background, what does he have to say about the intimate lives of his fellow Thais? Judging from "Slow Steps to Love," Bunnag's latest novel -- just published by Bangkok-based River Books -- the answer is: quite a lot.

Bunnag's tale centers around an unusual bond formed between Khun Chai, a spoiled, literary-minded heir to a propertied lifestyle he has never quite embraced, and Lai Yi, a lonely, reserved slum dweller whose massages carry psychic powers. Through these unlikely platonic partners and their close relationship, Bunnag moves effortlessly across various cross-sections of urban Thai society.

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