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ISBN : 978-2-9191-2253-0

Format : 15 x 21 cm

Pages : 208

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Histoires des pays d’Or
( Stories from Lands of Gold)

Jean Marcel | August 2013

There are none of the usual moral lessons to be found in these stories which have emerged from the dreamy mists of old Siam and its surrounding borderlands. They are wonderful stories, in all likelihood passed down through the generations.

The book

Literary style had nothing to do with the author’s decision to describe his stories as ‘histoires’, rather than fables or short stories. There is a common element running through the narratives presented here - the stories are sometimes funny or can be cautionary tales and may contain a moral or philosophical message. Some of them find their origins in actual historical events in Siam but, all the stories are related to the legends and fables of our childhood; they are a joy to tell and to listen to.
But for western readers, steeped in Christian traditions, the similarity stops there. These exotic story-tellers are not given to moralising. Morality, in our sense of the word, counts for little in these stories.
Cunning prevails over integrity; monks making profits out of sacred things, the debauchery of certain depraved characters or the scheming of old men in search of young flesh - all these excesses are very often rewarded. The reverse however can also occur; some piece of mischief may unexpectedly conceal real integrity. The boundary between good and evil is indeed tenuous in the Lands of Gold.
So here, you have the depiction by Jean Marcel, with apparent detachment, of people of unique character who burst forth brashly onto the pages of this book in a quite unexpected way.
And all for our greater pleasure.

The author

Jean Marcel is a medieval scholar, essayist and novelist. After a distinguished university career as teacher and researcher, he made Thailand his adopted home. Here he continues to reflect on his writing for which he has been awarded several literary prizes. He has also published, in similar style, another collection of short stories entitled ‘Des Nouvelles de Nouvelle-France’ (1994).