Searching for the Missing Girl

Åke Edwardson
Nov 1st, 2013

I went to Asia the first time in 1973. I was 20 years old. I had wanted to go since I saw that photograph of my father getting a shave from a very dark man on deck in Bombay harbour. You could see the mighty city beyond the Taj Mahal Hotel.  Dad was the cook on the merchant ship; the year was 1950. Three more to go before I entered this crazy world.

I travelled the Overland Tour, from Istanbul through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India. It took me four months to reach Bombay. I checked out the pier: yeah, it was here, dad. Now I'm finally here.

I went on to Goa, Bangalore, Trivandrum, Madras, Calcutta (as those cities were called then). I flew over to Bangkok,  met the glorious sin at Patpong, then took the train down to Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.

That's where I'm writing this now, at 2pm on the Veranda at Eastern & Oriental Hotel. It's almost forty years to the day since I was here that first time. I didn't stay in no E&O then, ha! I camped in a dump on Lebuh Chulia. The place is still there - my god, probably haven't changed sheets since 1973. Who cares - all is still wonderful. Unforced traveling is like sex: when it's good it's wonderful, and when it's bad it's still wonderful.

I have returned over the years to Asia as a UN press officer, university teacher, foreign correspondent and novelist. That's my latest (and probably last) incarnation: novelist. I'm currently on a four-month research tour in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong for my new novel, Bungalow. It's about a man who is travelling in his own footsteps in the region, searching for his missing daughter who went travelling in his footsteps. I travel as my character, of course, looking for the girl, living the role, like an actor in real life. I hope all goes well - for me, for the man, for the girl.


Åke Edwardson is a Swedish writer of 22 books which have sold more than six million copies so far and been translated into 27 languages. He writes novels, crime fiction, short stories, plays and novels for children and young adults. His fiction has been awarded numerous prizes and Edwardson is a three-time winner of the Swedish Crime Writer’s Academy prize for Best Novel. Seven of his crime novels featuring Chief Inspector Erik Winter have been translated into English, the latest, Room No. 10, in March 2013. In July 2013 he published the young adult novel Samurai Summer in English. Edwardson is currently traveling round Southeast and East Asia, researching a new novel, Bungalow. In his free time he enjoys cooking, training, reading and eating dim sum.

He is appearing at the 2013 Hong Kong International Literary Festival

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Åke Edwardson
Sweden
Last blog date: Nov 1st, 2013

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