ABOUT THE BOOK
PURCHASE THE BOOK
EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT OF BANGKOK TRANSIT‘Simon had wanted to spend New Year’s Eve modestly and with restraint. Instead, he got totally wasted, and if Eva hadn’t been there to dab his forehead with a wet washcloth, perhaps he never would have lived to see another year. But Eva, the wife of his best friend and colleague, Ralf, had helped him survive the night. The next day, when he woke up sticky with sweat in their living room on the leather couch, repulsed by the horrible taste of his own mouth, he realized that he had to go. Otherwise, he would drink himself senseless with vodka the following night too, and the night after, and things still wouldn’t be any better. Nothing would change at all. And he would wreck his health in the process. He felt himself hitting rock bottom over the course of the past few months. After the initial shock, he had curbed himself, trying to repress the pain, trying to live with her as before. He tried not to think about what had happened, tried to stay strong, tried to concentrate on his patients, tried to learn new surgery procedures, tried to be better at tennis by hiring a new trainer and pushing himself, jogging every day at dawn, punishing his body so that maybe his soul would find peace in the meantime. But his soul just hurt even more, and Simon had reached the edge of a total breakdown a good two months earlier. There was no other solution than to move away from her, even though he wanted to stay, because he kept seeing the same look of accusation in her eyes, even when there was perhaps no real trace of it. He moved out, but things didn’t get any better. How could they? He was unable to control what was happening to him, and despite his efforts to be disciplined during the day, he couldn’t keep his nights under control. He had never turned to alcohol in the past, had always been sporty, and as a doctor he knew very well that drink was only a temporary pacifier. Still, he chugged down the vodka and waited for the pain to ease up, waited for the day when he could forgive himself, but he couldn’t. His best friend, Ralf, who was pretty in tune to what was going on, set up an “accidental” meeting for him with one of the hospital’s psychiatrists, but Simon didn’t want the help. He thought he must face what had happened on his own, and that no one could help him. Then, one day, he felt that perhaps it might help if he went off on this trip. He would have to wait for the first workday after the holiday in order to book a ticket, and had to pay a substantially high surcharge if he wished to travel immediately, but he didn’t mind. He had loads of accumulated vacation time, since he only ever took time off to visit conventions and to take an annual vacation with her… but that was all in the past now. His direct superior was also the director of the clinic, and he knew what Simon had recently been through; moreover, about six months ago, when Simon had still been apparently keeping it together by being strict with himself, his boss kept asking if maybe he should take a vacation. So when Simon told him that he would be away for at least four weeks, his boss simply nodded acquiescently. Now he was here in the City of Angels in the Patpong district, dying for some vodka, and answering the Thai girls who called to him on the street (and who were clearly prostitutes, but at the moment, this did not bother him in the least). “What’s your name?” “John,” he answered without hesitation. What was he thinking? And why didn’t he just tell them his real name? He didn’t understand why he was acting this way. “Come in, John, and look at our show!” said two girls, linking arms with him. He shrugged and went along with them. Why not?’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eva Fejos worked in one of the largest Hungarian women’s magazines, Nők Lapja (Women’s Journal), as a journalist from 2001 until 2012. She was the recipient of both the Award for Quality Journalism and the Award for Excellence.