Susan Fulop Kepner has been a Lecturer in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1991. Among the works she has translated from Thai are Letters from Thailand by Botan (1977) and A Child of the Northeast by Kampoon Boontawee (1987). She has also written a book of original prose poems entitled Somebody's Mother (1987).
After the 1932 overthrow of the absolute monarchy, M.L. Boonlua became one of the first Thai women to earn a university degree. As an official in the Ministry of Education, she worked tirelessly to improve education within the kingdom and represent Thailand at international education conferences. She was a greatly respected teacher of literature and was much cherished for her charm, wit, and eminently quotable remarks. Her essays on literature became the foundation of modern Thai literary criticism and her novels are now recognized as unique social histories of the times in which she lived.
Lucid and sensitive, this engaging biography documents Boonlua’s life within the context of her society and the enormous changes her country was going through in her lifetime.
What Others Are Saying
“An intimate view of an extraordinary life. M.L. Boonlua’s passage from precocious child of an aristocratic lineage under the absolute monarchy to fiery debater in the liberal explosion after 1973 cuts across the social upheavals of twentieth-century Thailand. Susan Kepner succeeds in conveying the sheer complexity of her life, resulting in not only a fine biography and literary appreciation but also a unique essay in social history.”—Chris Baker, historian and writer, co-translator of The Tale of Khun Chang Khun Phaen
“This is not only an excellent biography of a unique Siamese lady, but it is also a wonderful social history of Siam from the reign of Rama VI to the end of the twentieth century. Anyone who wants to understand the subtleties of Thai culture and the delicacies of personal interaction should not fail to read this book.”—S. Sivaraksa, a Thai public intellectual