AWAKENED is a non-fictional graphic novel, based on ten years of ethnographic and archival research in Thailand, that tells the story of Nok, an old blind man who sells lottery tickets in Bangkok. One morning, Nok and his wife Gai, a sarcastic migrant worker, decide to leave the city for good and head back to their native village. How did Nok lose his sight? Why are they running away from the city?
The story follows Nok as he walks Bangkok’s streets for the last time, trying to get rid of his last five lottery tickets. Each ticket he sells, Nok encounters a person, an object, a smell, or a noise that bring him back to a period of his life. Through an alternation of reflections on contemporary Bangkok and flashbacks to his past, we reconstruct Nok’s trajectory, his love story with Gai, the ups and downs of their migrant lives, as well as those of an entire country around them.
Awakened is a story of migration to the city and distant families in the countryside; a story of economic development eating its land and children and of political protest choked in blood. Ultimately, it is a story about contemporary Thailand and how the waves of historical changes lift, engulf, or crash ordinary people.