Reporters on the Job: Finding banned novels in a Thai library

Check the Library: Given the tiny circulation of “Verisimilitude,” the banned novel that landed Australian Harry Nicolaides in a Thai jail, correspondent Simon Montlake wasn’t sure he could find a copy in Bangkok. “I wanted to read what exactly had got him into trouble. And Harry’s own diligence helped me. In 2005, he sent a copy of the book to the National Library of Thailand, the equivalent of the US Library of Congress,” says Simon.

Simon went there, expecting to find the book had been pulled from the shelves. “But to my surprise, it was there. I sat down and began reading, wondering if any of the library staff knew about the criminal case against the author. I doubt it, as Thai news media have ignored the case,” says Simon.

The book isn’t available for loan, but Simon photocopied the offending passage – 100 or so words – and some other sections that seemed relevant to the novel’s theme. “Then I put the book back on the shelves. It may still be there,” he says.

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