by Saneh Sangsuk


The village of Praeknamdang, nestled in the Thai jungle, has fallen under the spell of a corrupt religious leader. Only one family dares to resist his growing power: a couple and their talented ten-year-old son. But one day, while playing in the fields, the boy is attacked by a cobra. Locked in a life and death struggle with the snake, the border between the human and the animal disintegrates. Did the boy simply stray too near to a burrow, or is this a punishment for his family’s independent spirit? A gripping existential parable, Venom introduces English language readers to the world of Saneh Sangsuk. Lush, raw and lyrical, this is storytelling at its finest.

Translated from Thai by Mui Poopoksakul

96pp, paperback with flaps, £10
ISBN 978-1-908670-79-3
Publication date: 8 May 2023

Press & Reviews

‘A vivid fable of power and resistance, this story will continue to resonate long after the last page has been read.’ - Jessie Greengrass, author of The High House and Sight

'A gripping, sensual parable, seamlessly translated by Mui Poopoksakul.' - Catherine Taylor, The Irish Times

A story about the dissolving borders between human and animal, life and death, love and cruelty, Venom by Saneh Sangsuk is a kind of philosophical fairy tale, with both danger and beauty always lurking at its edges. Told through shifting perspectives in poetic prose, this slim novel is densly packed with ideas and energy, providing a thrilling introduction to Sangsuk’s work. – Asymptote Journal

‘A perfect blend of sharply observed naturalism and subtle allegory – Venom will delight and intrigue its new readers and find an enduring place in world literature.’ - John Gray, author of Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life and False Dawn: the Delusions of Global Capitalism

'It’s a pleasure to be introduced to award-winning Thai author Saneh Sangsuk. Translated by Mui Poopoksakul, his novella Venom reads like a fable where superstition and misfortune collide.' - Lucy Popescu, The Tablet

About The Book


Saneh Sangsuk (b. 1957) is an award-winning Thai author, known locally by his pen name Dan-arun Saengthong. He is regarded in Thailand as one of the greatest writers of his generation, having written multiple acclaimed novels and story collections. He is a highly prolific literary translator, working under different pen names, and counts Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, Franz Kafka, Gabriel García Márquez and Knut Hamsun among the numerous authors he has translated. In 2014, he won Thailand’s coveted SEA Write Award for Venom and Other Stories (Asorraphit), a collection that includes some of his best-known stories. In 2018, the Thai government awarded him the title of National Artist for his contributions to the country’s literature, and he has also been named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. Sangsuk lives in Phetchaburi, in a small village similar to the fictional Praeknamdang, where many of his tales are set.


Mui Poopoksakul is a lawyer turned translator. Her book-length translations include works by contemporary Thai authors Prabda Yoon and Duanwad Pimwana. For her translation of Sangsuk’s The Understory, she was awarded a PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant. Mui lives in Berlin, Germany.