The Sad Part Was

By Prabda Yoon / Tr. by Mui Poopoksakul

Winner of a PEN Translates! grant.

Winner of the Southeast Asian Write Award.

Selected as a ‘Book to Look Out For in 2017’ by the Guardian and BuzzFeed.

Named Best Beach Read of 2017 by Monocle Summer Weekly.

The Sad Part Was – paperback
Add To Cart

In these witty, postmodern stories, Yoon riffs on pop culture, experiments with punctuation, flirts with sci-fi and, in a metafictional twist, mocks his own position as omnipotent author. Highly literary, his narratives offer an oblique reflection of contemporary Bangkok life, exploring the bewildering disjunct and oft-hilarious contradictions of a modernity that is at odds with many traditional Thai ideas on relationships, family, school and work.

Digital proof copies are available. If you are a reviewer or journalist, please contact us to request access.


‘The stories that form Prabda Yoon’s mind-bending and strangely melancholic universe are unfailingly provocative… Playful, coolly surrealist... this landmark collection... is not only the first of Yoon’s work to be translated into English, but a rare international publication of Thai fiction... Mui Poopoksakul’s translation renders the stories fluent and accessible, ironing out the linguistic kinks and allowing Yoon’s portraits of Bangkok lives to take centre stage.’
Financial Times

‘Evocative, erudite, and often very funny stories of Bangkok life.’ 
— The Guardian

‘Very, very clever… A completely fabulous book.’  
Monocle 24: Meet the Writers

The Sad Part Was is unique in the contemporary literature of Bangkok – it doesn’t feature bar girls, white men, gangsters or scenes redolent of The Hangover Part II. Instead it reveals, sotto voce, the Thai voices that are swept up in their own city’s wild confusion and energy, and it does so obliquely, by a technique of partial revelation always susceptible to tenderness.’
New Statesman

‘Young prodigy Yoon’s style seems most influenced by the street-smart, chatty American posse, and revels in all kinds of contemporary twists of the postmodern and meta kind. However its savviness never tips into the sort of self-congratulatory indulgence that many of its western peers suffer from, and it remains charming throughout.’
— The Big Issue

‘This trenchant observation of lives in a vibrant, alluring setting, elegantly rendered in English for the first time, definitely raises the bar for Thai literary works to be translated in the future.’
World Literature Today

‘Formally inventive, always surprising and often poignant, with the publication of this fluid and assured translation of The Sad Part Was, Prabda Yoon can take his place alongside the likes of Ben Lerner and Alejandro Zambra as a writer committed to demonstrating that there’s life in the old fiction-dog yet.’
— Adam Biles, author of Feeding Time

‘An entrancing and distinctive collection. Yoon’s limpid prose faces up to large, transcendental questions, all the while flickering with beautiful other-worldly images and flashes of deadpan humour.’
— Mahesh Rao, author of One Point Two Billion

Prabda Yoon is one of Thailand’s finest writers. These witty, adventurous, and wholly brilliant short stories were a necessary shot across the bow when they first appeared in Thai, a deceptively revolutionary collection that helped to transform the country’s literary landscape. Long deemed untranslatable, given their interests in linguistic wordplay, their appearance in English—in this supple, agile translation by Mui Poopoksakul—is a cause for celebration.’ 
— Rattawut Lapcharoensap



  • ISBNs: 9781911284062 (print) / 9781911284079 (ebook)

  • Publication date: 3 March 2017

  • Extent: 192pp

  • Format: B-format paperback (198mm × 127mm)

  • Rights held: World