Reading list: Private Dancer

Recommended by JT, now I to you.

Private Dancer by Stephen Leather is easy reading. Nothing fancy about the prose. But the story is related through first person narrative from multiple sources.

The book offers a startling and eye-opening perspective into the bar subculture in Bangkok, one that I would never otherwise know of. Despite the subject matter, the book isn’t graphic or sexual. The details aren’t shocking as they are revealing.

Admittedly, reading the book only enforced my disdain of the many farangs I see hanging out in the bars. Nor has it encouraged any sympathy for the bargirls. The notion that they were forced to become prostitutes is frequently mocked by the author.

I certainly was preoccupied when at the bar in Phuket. Instead of drinking, I found myself really paying attention to the dynamics of the Thais working around us. Spotting the mamasan, the guys paying the fines, the bouncers and their interactions with the women. My newfound knowledge had suddenly turned my nightlife to a spectator sport.

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