“A brilliant and polychromatic look at Bangkok done in a way that no other writer has attempted. Philip Cornwel-Smith turns Bangkok into a vast tapestry of meditations on the nature of cities ...combining whimsy, erudition, and a sensual precision of language.
Since publishing Very Thai, Cornwel-Smith has become the city’s preeminent mythographer in the English language. The city is re-seen, re-imagined as a vast complex of signs which requires the informal encyclopedia which he has written. This makes for many a surprise. What one feels unconsciously, he puts into a fine and sensual prose that provides to the reader a little ‘discovery’.”
— Lawrence Osborne, author of Bangkok Days and The Forgiven
“Very Bangkok has the answers to the paradoxes we wondered about, or hadn’t looked closely enough to even wonder about. With its thorough coverage of every aspect of Bangkok life, its wealth of detail and breadth of thought, this book on Bangkok will not be equalled for years to come.”
— Alex Kerr, author of Lost Japan and Bangkok Found
“Philip Cornwel-Smith’s much-adored Very Thai captured the essence of contemporary ‘Thainess’ with a profound depth and uncanny authenticity few books could match, whether by a Thai or a foreigner. Now his Very Bangkok does the same with an even more adventurous search for the true identity of this complex, unique and notorious capital. I am a Bangkok-born Thai, and live here, yet I’m sure Philip knows much more about it than me.”
— Prabda Yoon, film director & SEA Write prize-winning author
The world’s most visited city finally gets the dynamic portrait it deserves. Vividly photographed by the author, Very Bangkok explores its kaleidoscopic facets, from street to chic, folk to pop, and ancient rites to sci-fi.
Experience Thailand’s enigmatic capital through each sense. Go beyond the taste of its famous food to the sound of the city, the scent of the night, or the trance of a tattoo shaman. Discover how beliefs shape the Thai sense of direction, time or colour.
The heart of the book navigates the tensions between creative chaos and dreams of order. Enter the subcultures of organic markets, youth tribes and ethnic roots. Find the patterns behind the wild reputation and see how the city portrays itself, through media, the arts and the Bangkok noir.
This is also a book about cities, which applies the latest ‘messy urban’ thinking to this fast-changing tropical metropolis.