Thursday, February 27, 2014

Phra Jan: Synopsis

Phra Jan is the Thai name for the Holy, or, Full Moon. The story begins aeons ago in the long forgotten past. A young Thai village girl named Mew, who has a question, begins a chain of events that have unforeseen consequences. It is a simple question; why are the days and nights never the same length from one day to the next? It was a question that had never before been asked; so, there was no answer for it. Her mother, her father, the village elders, all told her they didn't know the answer. Such a question, they all agreed. They said the hermit in the forest would know the answer; but, nobody could tell Mew, where in the forest the hermit lived. Mew has the gift of curiosity; this and her indomitable spirit give her a unique view of life and her relationship with her environment. With persistence, courage, sensitivity, and creative thinking, Mew finds a way to realize her search for the hermit. What she finds completely changes everything she thought she knew. Mew did not fully understand her question; if she had, she may not have taken the path into the forest. The illustrations are done in the Himmapan Forest style. Because of the time period in my story, I felt it was an appropriate art style. The origins can be traced back to the 4th or 5th century BC and are to be found in the Hindu epic, The Ramayana, which was written by the poet Valmiki. Here in Thailand the story is called The Ramakien. The illustrations are all original art, painted (by formally trained Thai artist Rewat Yutto) specifically for this book.