July 16th, 2009

No, the pictures aren’t actually from the book, but they mirror some of the story strands.  BREATHING WATER is the most complex, or at least the most plot-heavy, book I’ve ever written, and it touches on many areas of Thai life.

Here are some examples:


Rich vs. poor


Beggars with babies


Political turmoil


Kids in monasteries


Corrupt cops . . .

. . . and a whole lot more.   These pictures are from a power-point presentation I’ll be making in bookstores rather than getting up and ad-libbing in a boring fashion while people prop their eyelids open.

So . . . do you like the pictures?

12 Responses to “BREATHING WATER Photos”

  1. Cynthia Mueller Says:

    YES! The photos put a face on a part of the world most of us never see (unless something awful happens for us to watch on CNN). Thanks, Tim. I can’t wait for the release!

    My captcha: national pezet (Hmmm…a cross between a pretzel and a pet and a pez dispenser?)

  2. Merrilee Faber Says:

    Powerful pictures. I wouldn’t say I like them, but I was affected by them.

  3. John Lindquist Says:


    Those are powerful images.

    Is your book tour going to take you through or near Madison, Duluth or Nashville?


  4. Sylvia Says:

    Very powerful and each one tells a story of its own. Wonderfully chosen.

  5. Rachel Brady Says:

    I absolutely do. Before I got to the bottom, where you asked, I was already thinking how much I could learn if I had an opportunity to go there. So many of us have little idea what goes on in other areas of the world, but would like to learn more. The Power Point idea is very good for explaining where you’re coming from as a writer, but more importantly it’s a wonderful tool to raise awareness.

    How about a post or home page update telling us where your tour stops are planned?

  6. Jen Forbus Says:

    These are stunning. The beggar with the baby is especially poignant after reading BREATHING WATER. I’m looking forward to this presentation!

  7. Peter Says:

    Hmm, I don’t remember any Buddhas that large in the book. I’d suggest you screen the photo behind you as you read, except your audience might tell you to shut up so it can concentrate on the pictures.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

  8. Peter Says:

    The photoS, plural that is.

  9. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Thanks, everybody — glad you enjoyed the pix or, at least, found them interesting.

    Cynthia, Thailand is endlessly photographable, both for dark images and beautiful, spiritual ones. I think I’ll put up some of the latter in the next day or two.

    Merrilee, the problem is that my books are a little, uh, dark, so the images go in that direction, too. And, of course, poverty, while visually affecting, is rarely attractive. But Thailand itself is beautiful and overwhelmingly cheerful. Okay, flipside images are on the way.

    John — thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed them. I’ll be in both Nashville(September 15) and Memphis (September 16) but not as far north as Madison or Duluth. Hope to meet you on the trip. By the way, Robb Royer will be at the Nashville event. I think. Who knows, where Robb is concerned?

    Sylvia, thanks for the kind words. It’s hard to look through a camera viewfinder in Bangkok without finding something that makes you push the shutter release. And photos are wonderfully evocative in the way they suggest story. (By the way, I didn’t take any of these, as much as I’d like to claim credit. They’re all from the Web.)

    Rachel — I’m going to post the whole tour schedule in the next week or two. I don’t want to put it up too early since I’m not leaving California until August 28. And you’d probably be as enchanted by Thailand, if you were to go, as most visitors are. While it’s true that the gulf between rich and poor is extraordinarily wide — three percent of Thais own 95 percent of the Kingdom’s assets — the daily grace and equanimity of the people is striking and inspirational. It always makes me feel fat, greasy, overcompensated, needlessly aggrieved, and insufficiently grateful.

    Thank you, Jen — I think you and Peter (see below) are the only people here who have actually had a chance to read the book at this point, and I’m very happy that you think the pictures capture something about it.

    And Peter, you’re right — in fact, the whole “children in monasteries” thing was an excuse to use that beautiful photo. There are no children in monasteries in BREATHING WATER, although one child in the book has taken refuge in a monastery and been deeply changed before his reappearance in Poke’s life. As for having me talk over the photos, they’re actually sort of sequenced to support an overview that I’ll present live while the pictures (there are about 80 of them) flash on the screen. There’s a musical score, too, taken from the wonderful imaginary soundtrack Stephen Cohn wrote for A NAIL THROUGH THE HEART, which you can hear on the NAIL page.

  10. Cynthia Mueller Says:

    Jen, the photo with the beggar and the baby calls to mind The Pieta. The images are so pure, so simple, yet so rich and complex — kinda like Tim’s writing….

  11. Brynne Sissom Says:

    Hello All,
    As I have a past life in Thailand/Siam, What about a retreat for all of us so Tim can show us around all at once. We’d have the common bond of love of Thailand plus his stories.

  12. Sarah Says:

    Oh yes I love the pictures, Thanks. I am a slow reader but I just love this book. I love the little boy in the beginning and these pictures help, even IF your writing is so good that it evokes so much more than these pictures.

Leave a Reply