Bombay Anna: The Real Story and Remarkable Adventures of the King and I Governess
is a less romanticized version of the story behind the movie The King and I.
Bangkok has found its way into the works of authors including Joseph Conrad, Somerset Maugham, and James Michener, all of whom spent time in Thailand’s capital city. With six months to go before the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, 6-9 May, you still have time to read up on the country’s history, people, and customs.
Many Thais take umbrage at the portrayal of the Kingdom of Siam in the book Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon (as well as the memoir on which it is based, The English Governess at the Siamese Court by Anna Leonowens, and the movie The King and I). A less-romanticized version is Bombay Anna: The Real Story and Remarkable Adventures of the King and I Governess by Susan Morgan.
For a Thai perspective on the same period, Kukrit Pramoj’s Four Reigns is the story of a young girl who comes to work in the royal palace in the 1890s and remains through World War II, serving under four monarchs.
Lawrence Osborne’s memoir Bangkok Days explores the author’s mixed relationship with the city, while Alex Garland’s novel The Beach tells the story of three backpackers searching for authenticity and escape. Travelers’ Tales Thailand: True Stories collects writings of, among others, Ian Buruma, Pico Iyer, and Simon Winchester. – Frank Bures
Register for the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok by 1 December for a special rate.