A national bestseller for two years, the winner of the Governor General’s Award in 1993, and a New York Times Notable Travel Book of the Year in 2000, Touch the Dragon, A Thai Journal is a rare and dazzling exploration of a young writer’s brave new world. In Timothy Findley’s words, this book is "a splendid evocation of a place and people."
Connelly is seventeen when she leaves Canada for Denchai to attend her last year of high school at a Thai school. Through energetic language and beautiful imagery, through humour and careful observation of the families, school friends and Buddhist rituals around her, Karen Connelly recreates life in a small village in northern Thailand. Not only does she illuminate another culture, she also shows how this strange, sometimes difficult place touched and changed her, allowing her to receive and understand a rich, common humanity.
"Connelly's images are so clear, so perfectly chosen, that getting lost inside this marvelous book is a rare pleasure.... Touch The Dragon is a splendid evocation of a country and its culture...."
-- The Daily Yomiuri Review, Japan
"In Touch The Dragon, Connelly captures the intricacies of daily life in rural Thailand, as well as the slow magic by which she came to feel at home there. The story is engrossing and the images are delicious."
-- Cityscape Magazine
"...an exquisitely detailed account of a year in Thailand."
-- The Weekend Australian
"...a delight.... Connelly's writing has a poetic charm and a lack of cynicism which is initially beguiling and then entrancing.
-- Sydney Morning Herald
"...magical.... Connelly evokes, by way of her beautiful, lyrical narrative, the true essence of South-East Asia."
-- The Observer
"In Touch The Dragon Connelly revels in observing the unusual and exotic and pulling from her vocabulary the precise words to convey what she sees."
-- Prairie Books NOW
"Connelly's writing expresses better than any other modern writer considered here the abrasive shock of the cultural Other, although Touch the Dragon is not without its lyrical moments. Not only does the author find herself alone in an alien but fully functioning society, but she observes it at a double remove, both as a falang or foreigner and as a woman."
"Touch the Dragon is full of wonder, wisdom, humour and humility. [Connelly's] descriptions of the places and people are both educational and touching. Her progress as a person during this period is quite remarkable."
-- The Klondike Sun
“I already look forward to reading Touch the Dragon again—and again.”
"The story of Connelly's year in Thailand is illuminating, poignant and funny, and her writing is exquisite."
-- The Winnipeg Free Press
A lovingly crafted piece of writing. The immediacy of Connelly's prose keeps the narrative humming."
-- The Montreal Gazette
"...filled with a string of powerful, enriching moments, vignettes beautifully and clearly illustrated in Connelly's poetic language, which seem as fresh in the reader's mind as they must in her memory. The reader can taste, smell and visualize everything."
-- The Globe and Mail
"Connelly is a refreshingly clear and perceptive writer. She is genuinely interested in Thailand, not as a reflection of her own preoccupations, but as a source of amazement to be grasped and absorbed."
-- Books in Canada
Karen Connelly, a native of Calgary, is the author of seven books of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. She has read from and lectured on her work in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. She is also a working photographer. Her best-selling book Touch The Dragon, A Thai Journal, won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction in 1993, and was a New York Times Notable Travel Book of the Year in 2002.