In 2000, ความน่าจะเป็น, or Probability, was my second published book. I had been back in Thailand for about three years, had completed my military service (the main reason that brought me back), and had had one story collection published. It was also a story collection, thirteen in all, ten of which were previously printed in a bimonthly magazine called Soodsubda (Weekend). My first published book (entitled Right-angled City) was a surprise hit but this collection did even better. It had already gone through multiple print runs when it was awarded the S.E.A. Write in 2002. It was the S.E.A. Write, however, that sealed its fate.
ความน่าจะเป็น has not been out of print since, and this year, in its 41st print run, it turns twenty.
As a writer, I’m probably best known as the author of the stories in this collection, even though I have written many more stories over the years. And because my first book translated into English, The Sad Part Was (Tilted Axis), is made up mostly of these stories, I am now also known for them outside Thailand. While I’m certainly grateful that a body of work I wrote two decades ago is being discovered by people around the world, to me it feels almost as if the new readers travel back in time to find that work. They’re reading something the twenty-seven year old me wrote, not the current me.
It’s entirely possible, of course, that the twenty-seven year old me was a much better writer than the current me. I don’t mean to suggest that I wish I was known more for my recent work. It’s just a strange phenomenon, on a personal level, to have written a book that has managed to achieve a kind of longevity beyond its author’s comprehension.