Rattawut Lapcharoensap is a natural. The eight short stories in this dazzling debut collection benefit from two centralities: Lapcharoensap is absolutely Thai; he’s also Chicago-born and Michigan educated, which means he’s using his native English to Thai up loose ends.
The narrator in “Farangs” has a pet pig named Clint Eastwood; in “Priscilla the Cambodian,” Thais burn down the houses of squatting Cambodians; in “Cockfighters,” the longest story, a father-son paradigm is wired through a sport Westerners deplore. Thailand gets ample treatment in thriller fiction (John Burdett loves it), but Lapcharoensap is a knowing, seeing eye; cold yet kind. This is “Under the Thai Sun” as filtered through mature hard knocks.