Tone Deaf in Bangkok (and other places)
By Janet Brown; Photographs by Nana Chen
As a bookseller, Janet Brown had every opportunity to learn about Bangkok before she moved there. Guidebooks lay the groundwork, photography books set the mood, but nothing prepared her for what she found — a city as sensuous, irreverent, reverent, and indiscreet as the stories she tells in Tone Deaf in Bangkok.
Whether eating noodles for breakfast, struggling with the multi-toned language, sipping Scotch laced with honey, or falling in love with a man many years her junior, Janet knew that she had found her soul mate: Bangkok. Even when she was ostracized from her local neighborhood, even when she had to skirt sleeping dogs and itinerant kitchens on the sidewalks every single day, and even when she woke to the sound of gunshots while traveling in nearby Cambodia, life here made sense to her, precisely because it made no sense.
Not only did Bangkok change Janet’s life, it gave her the life she felt she was always meant to live. Join her as she interprets this electrifying city with the sense of humor and devotion it deserves.
Janet Brown has always lived on the Pacific Rim: in Alaska, Seattle, and Thailand. A bookseller for twenty years, she was until recently travel buyer at the Elliott Bay Book Company, that literary oasis that makes Seattle livable.
Janet took an extended cigarette break between 1995 and 2001 to teach English in Bangkok. She is now back in Seattle, reinventing her life and planning a permanent return to that city that she loves best in the world, despite her continuing battle with the Thai language (which up to this point is the clear-cut winner).
Nana Chen is an internationally published freelance photographer and writer whose work has appeared in South China Morning Post, Real Travel UK, Adbusters, and major in-flight magazines, including those for Thai Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, and China Airlines. She has made several guest appearances on the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and contributed to art columns for the Council for Cultural Affairs Taiwan and South China Morning Post’s “WorldBeat.” Nana is currently based in Bangkok and continues to travel wherever work takes her.
2009, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches; paperback; color images