Living in Baan Suan, a family mansion, Chai is a disillusioned writer, blocked physically and spiritually. Like the house, he has been both a witness and participant in the events that shaped modern Bangkok. A child of privilege, Chai has lived comfortably but without the passion and the depth of experience he had once craved. When he meets Yai Li – a healer from the slums who is grappling with her own past trauma – his inertia begins to shift.
Set in pre-pandemic Bangkok, Slow Steps to Love traces a gradual process of discovering love and healing that allows reconciliation with the past and acceptance of the present.
Like the aristocratic landlord in Satyajit Ray’s “The Music Room”, Tew Bunnag’s ageing writer, Khun Chai, presides over his family house which his prosperous son has purchased for him. But it is Chekhov who seems to inspire both Bunnag and his protagonist, as his family’s dramas and his own personal regrets engulf him.
A rapidly changing country is the background to Bunnag’s elegiac tale, whose spare and calm sentences accurately measure his characters’ loves and foibles.
Khun Chai’s emerging love for Yai Li, an ex-factory worker living in Jetsip Rai, brings together the two poles of Thai society in unexpected ways, offering them both an unforeseen salvation.
Lawrence Osborne, author of The Forgiven and On Java Road