Translated from the Serbian by Christina Pribichevich Zoric
If it were not a novel, this would be a “feasibility study” dealing with the ways and means of a self-aware man who wishes or, rather, seeks to protect a woman. The project is, under the given circumstances, doomed to failure not because it is impossible, but because it is unnecessary. The fragile and gentle woman, with her passive (Buddhist) presence and existence, with her rejection in acceptance, would lead this seemingly macho man to self-decomposition. He goes through a stunningly honest self-analysis only to turn himself into a vulnerable human being. So vulnerable, in fact, that he is the one who seeks St. Christopher’s protection.
…Thai also serves as a lesson given to a complacent Westerner, with the intention of curing his haughty ego by succumbing to the East. However, there are no winers in this process, only losers. And even then – he can be healed only temporarily by the “Empire of Emptiness” – the emptiness being essentially a feminine quality.
About the Author
Goran Gocić has worked as a freelance journalist, editor, translator and filmmaker for thirty-odd media outlets. His film credits include the documentaries Balkan Diaries: Bulgaria and the award–winning Bloody Foreigners. He has published Andy Warhol and the Strategy of Pop and Notes from the Underground: The Cinema of Emir Kusturica, selected among the top five film books of the year by The Observer. So far, his works have been translated into ten languages. In 2014, Goran Gocić’s first novel Thai won the NIN Prize, the most prestigious literary award in Serbia and has become a bestseller.
The book that is defined by its topos: Thailand. Love and Thailand. Woman, sensuality, demystification of the main character. Analysis of the Far East in relation to the (Far) West. The structure of the novel is built in way both simple and complicated. The result is very useful for the book: the weight outweighs into comprehensibility, just like the other character of the book, the hero’s shadow, complement, contrast or even alter-ego, ideally complements this guest in another culture. Equally, the Notes at the end of the text upgrade the fiction, that is, fine art. Thai is a lesson for the egotistical Westerner on how to cure his arrogant ego by Easterners’ suppleness. No, there are no winners. Maybe just the defeated. But then too – “healed” by the Empire of Emptiness. (Vladislav Bajac)