Book Reviews

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Beyond The Pancake Trench:

Road Tales from the Wild East

Tom Vater

2004. 192 pp., 16 colour plates, 215 x 152, Softcover

ISBN-10: 974-524-047-8 $23.00
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-047-6

Asia’s Dark Underbelly

Book review by Clovis LaPorte

(Farang Untamed Travel Magazine, Sept. 2004)

In Beyond the Pancake Trench: Road Tales from the Wild East (Orchid Books, 2004), a newly-released collection of non-fiction stories and a smattering of photos from all over Asia, tireless travel writer and documentary filmmaker Tom Vater introduces the reader to a wealth of strange places and people. (In one story, the collection of pathetic expat weirdos were the guests at a FARANG editor’s 40th birthday party though many of them are now the author’s friends). From naked painted Saddhus to Thai rock ‘sn’ roll (Modern Dog and a drunk Elvis Presley impersonator), showing his tongue-clicking German headmistress mother around Angkor Wat, visiting Pol Pot’s grave with two Khmer men who hate other, and 60-plus other yarns, Tom calls it like he sees it from his dryly humorous, cynical, and slightly detached perspective. Unlike many other authors, Tom doesn’t present himself as the glorious main character in the stories, preferring to be the little German fly on the wall. A good intro for those new to the place and a fresh perspective for those who think they know this shit already.

Book review from Rough Guide to Thailand

Filmically describes snapshots of life in twenty-first century Thailand, from a self-confessed seeker of marginal experiences. Also covers exploits in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and India.

[Read a review from the South China Morning Post] [Read a review from Lifestyle & Travel Magazine] [Read a review from The Fortean Times] [More Orchid Press Reviews]