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Cross Currents

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  463 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
Thailand's pristine Ko Phi Phi island attracts tourists from around the world. There, struggling to make ends meet, small-resort owners Lek and Sarai are happy to give an American named Patch room and board in exchange for his help. But when Patch's brother, Ryan, arrives, accompanied by his girlfriend, Brooke, Lek learns that Patch is running from the law, and his presenc ...more
Paperback, 322 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Berkley Books
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May 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Full disclosure here: I'm the author...

Cross Currents is a novel that I take great pride in. Here is a summary:

On December 26, 2004, one of the largest earthquakes in human history occurred off the coast of Indonesia, creating a series of massive tsunamis that struck countries bordering the Indian Ocean. Waves varied in height, some reaching almost one hundred feet tall. It is estimated that 230,000 people, representing forty nationalities, died in the catastrophe.

Ko Phi Phi is a beautiful, but
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 2011
It’s really hard to review a book that turned out not to be the book you thought you were reading. I knew that this novel was about Ko Phi Phi, an island that was decimated in the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. It’s part of the blurb and part of the author’s introduction. So, I kept waiting for that darned wave. Unlike the characters, I knew it was coming. About halfway through, I looked up the date that the tsunami occurred so I would know how close it was. I grew quite impatient for the devastation. ...more
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Staci by: John Shors
Shelves: 2011-reads
 First thoughts when I finished this magnificent novel: "I'm a damn emotional wreck!"

I have to say that I'm blown away by Shors writing. I could kick myself for waiting so long to experience his talent but now that I have, I will be reading all of his books. I'm amazed at how he was able to lull me into this sense of peace and beauty. I could imagine myself on the beach in Ko Phi Phi. I could smell the wonderful food that Sarai made for her guests and family. I could hear the children's laughter
Romancing the Book
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Reviewed By- JoAnne
Copy Provided By- Author's Publicist
This was a wonderful novel about family, survival and love. The main characters were a family of 5 plus their grandmother from Ko Phi Phi island in Thailand and two American brothers. Shors did a masterful job of showing us the interactions between family members in their own family as well as between the two families. The vivid descriptions of the island, boats, restaurant, bungalows, the beach and the pier made you able to visualize the wo
Ellen Hinkle
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I don't read as much as I used to (children, work, etc.) so when I buy a book, I expect a lot out of it. A friend had recommended Cross Currents to me, and because I wasn't familar with the author's work, I picked up the book with some reluctance. The cover definitely caught my eye. Though it took me maybe 15 pages to get into the book, I was hooked fairly quickly. Cross Currents is a beautiful story set in a beautiful place. The novel takes place in Thailand and revolves around two families (re ...more
Aug 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A mesmerizing, poignant, life affirming read! CROSS CURRENTS will leave you with a thankfulness for your life and an awareness of the global tragedies that can pound us without warning. To one day be leading an idyllic and carefree life then to be thrown into a maelstrom of tragedy the next is a reminder to us all just how precious life is. Just how precarious our situations can be. Never take anything for granted because that very thing could disappear in the blink of an eye. Be thankful people ...more
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Lyrical writing paints a beautiful picture of both relationships and location in this wonderful novel. Each time I picked up the book I could feel the warmth of the beach, smell the ocean scent. The love stories portrayed throughout the novel buoyed my spirits. Family love, romantic love, devotion to others were all depicted in a way which made me that much more grateful for the loves I have in my life. "Cross Currents" is a novel that took me away from the here & now and left me with a sens ...more
Christa Borne
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
As a book critic, I am sent many novels, some of which I read and enjoy, but do not have the space to review. Cross Currents is such a novel. I adored this story, which is set in Ko Phi Phi, Thailand, and involves a variety of characters--young and old, Thai and American, male and female. As the story progressed I felt increasingly connected with these characters, and by the time the wave hit, I was reading late into the night and stayed up until I finished. This is rare novel--both lyrical and ...more
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
Lek and Sarai try to make ends meet, managing a small resort in Thailand's Ko Phi Phi island, but money is short, their buildings and surroundings need maintenance, and their children need to be put through school. In addition, one of their tenants, an American man named Patch, has already been staying at their resort for much longer than is allowed on a normal visa, making Sarai nervous. Patch, however, is trying to stay low after attacking a cop who had busted him when he was buying marijuana. ...more
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Nature/Nurture: John Shors Finds the Relationship Again

John Shors has secured his place among popular American novelists of the decade with this his sixth novel that combines a growing respect of the beauties of the globe and the intricacies of the manner in which characters seemingly misplaced in locales seek to find themselves only to discover that their place in the confusion of the world is close at hand, partially shaded by nature's vagaries.

CROSS CURRENTS is Shors reaction to the now almo
I'm a long-time fan of John Shors, having jumped head first on his fan-wagon when I cracked the opening pages of "The Marble Sky." I had never read anything quite like that novel. It was simply spectacular and I recommend it to everyone. Since that novel, Shors has continued to produce incredibly stellar work; most recently the slightly heartbreaking and amazingly soulful "The Dragon House" about a children's shelter in Viet Nam.

My expectations, then were very high for "Cross Currents." So when
Ashley Setzer
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I downloaded this book while still in the afterglow of a trip to Ko Phi Phi island in Thailand. Shors absolutely captures the feel of the island -- the sounds, the smells, the tiny details that really give you a sense of the place. As realistic as his setting is, however, I found the characters to be unrealistically good. That's not to say they don't have flaws, but they are hyper-aware of those flaws and they spend long passages talking about themselves, each other, and their relationships to e ...more
Sally Pearce
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Shors has hit another home run with CROSS CURRENTS! This was a delightful book set in Ko Phi Phi, Thailand in December 2004. From the location and the time frame, you might think it's a book about the tsunami that swept for thousands of miles at that time, but, while that is part of the story, it is not all of it by any means. The tsunami happens in the last eighth of the book (approximately).

Most of the book is a simple, but complex story of love and families. The Thai people are wonderfu
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Cross Currents by John Shors is set in the paradise of Ko Phi Phi in Thailand in 2004 as the lives of two families — struggling resort owners Lek and Sarai and brothers Patch and Ryan — cross paths. In paradise anything seems possible, especially for Patch who is running from the Thai police after a stupid mistake, but even more so for Lek and Sarai’s children with so much ahead of them.

From the moment readers enter Shors’ world, readers are engrossed in the sand, the sun, the stars, and the hum
Andreea Lucau
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was reading this book while in Thailand, in Phuket.
It helped me understand better the relationship between the locals and the tourists and I found out more about the tsunami that hit the islands in 2004. I related a lot with the main story of the book as well - the connection between two brothers, Patch and Ryan.
The action is set in Ko Phi Phi. The island seems this idyllic, pristine paradise and it convinced me to add it to my itinerary.
Adriana Silva
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I wond this novel through Goodreads.
In a few words" I was swept away by this novel"! Not only is it about love, loss, sacrifice, and family but John Shors writes with such passion that it takes you into the plots and makes you feel like your going through the love one minute and the great loss the next. Breathtaking and not one to miss!
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story about the resilience and perseverance of the Thai people and how it was tested by the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. Certainly heartbreaking in parts, but overall, this story was heartwarming and full of hope.
Michele Weiner
Sep 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Spoiler Alert: Don't read if you don't want to know what happened.

Patch is a free-sprited American 23-year-old who takes a vacation in Thailand. In order to extend his time in paradise by a few weeks, he decides to sell some marijuana for profit. He gets caught, strikes a policeman, and runs off to Ko Phi Phi, a resort village on the coast. There he meets Lek, his wife Saira, her mother Yai, and their three children. The family is typical of Thailand. they are hard-working, happy, and devoted to
Jessica Lawlor
Jul 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
Set in beautiful Ko Phi Phi, an island in Thailand, Lek and Sarai struggle to make ends meet as resort owners on the picturesque island. Kind people, they are more than happy to take in Patch, a young American in exchange for his help around the resort. What Lek and Sarai don’t know is that Patch is running from the law after committing a crime. But even still, Patch is a decent man, and quickly grows close to Lek and Sarai and their two small children. When Ryan’s brother and his girlfriend Bro ...more
May 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, asia, travel

In March 1987, my friend Debbie and I spent a few days--not long enough--on an unspoiled Thai island, Koh Samet. The visit was arranged by Debbie's friend, Noi, who worked for Finn Air and whose Bangkok family was very protective of us. Even though Debbie and I were intrepid travelers by this point, they didn't want us traveling on our our time on this island was wonderful because we were on our own, and it was absolutely of the mos
John Shors' Cross Currents is a hair-raising, memorable and atmospheric novel that transported me directly to Thailand. Most of us remember what happened on Dec. 26 -- an 9.1-magnitude earthquake in the Indian Ocean created devastating tsunamis that ripped through most countries bordering the sea. More than 230,000 people in 14 countries were killed, with Indonesia being the hardest hit.

But this isn't just a book about the disaster. Every chapter -- every page -- brims with the certainty that so
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Let me start off by saying that I loved the writing in this novel! Shors portrayed the beauty of Thailand so wonderfully that I would love to take my next vacation there. We have the opportunity to be given this story through several different viewpoints, which helps the story unfold in a way that makes you want to stay up late into the night reading.

Lek and Sarai are happy Thailand residents that own a small resort right on the beach. They love the life they have with their children in the smal
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
THAILAND - island life on Ko Phi Phi

John Shors has beautifully captured the feel, smell and the feel of the island of Ko Phi Phi. The storyline takes the visitor behind the Thai smile and portrays the reality of life as it must be for many inhabitants looking after the tourist crowds across Thailand. It is a simple hand to mouth existence that many visitors perhaps never really appreciate as they enjoy sitting on the beach, chilling and enjoying the food and drink in the balmy surroundings. The
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sheree by: Staci
The gorgeous cover of Cross Currents caught my eye and after reading Staci's glowing review (Life in the Thumb), I knew I had to have it (... something that happens regularly when I visit Staci's blog.) What a beautiful story, having spent 3 weeks in Thailand years ago I immediately felt I'd returned; mesmerised by the breathtaking beauty of Ko Phi Phi and it's people.

With tender insight Shors describes the interactions between Thai family members Lek, his wife Sarai, her mother Yai, their thre
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
It took me a little while to get through this book, again based on my part and my lack of creating time to read and it had very little to do with the book. Even though the tsunami happened in 2004, I continue to be intrigued by it and learning all about it. However, I felt that the book is portrayed as a book about the tsunami when actually the tsunami played a very small part in the book. I kept reading it "waiting" to get to the tsunami. Of course it was all the way at the very end.

Possible sp
Steve Piacente
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I began John Shors’ Cross Currents in Washington, D.C., continued it on a long business trip to Thailand, and finished it in Bangkok. I had not heard of the author previously and chose the book because it’s set in Thailand, and this was to be my first visit. I needed a guide, someone who could provide insight into local customs, politics, and beliefs about Americans.

I was also interested in the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, which killed more than 230,000 people in 14 nations, including Thailand
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, fiction
Oh boy, this book absolutely sucked me in. Stors sets the scene on a gorgeous tropical island in Thailand. This sounds like a place that I would love to visit. Gorgeous beaches, clear water, yummy food. Stors then introduces us to some wonderful characters. There are the American brothers: Ryan and Patch. There is the gorgeous American woman: Brooke, Ryan's girlfriend. Then there is the Rainbow Resort family: Sarai and Lek and their 3 cute little children and the incomparable grandmother, Yai. S ...more
Sep 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Lek lives on the island of Ko Phi Phi with his wife, Sarai, his children Suchin, Niran, Achara, and Sarai’s mother. Lek and Sarai owned and operated Rainbow Resort. There are not any tourists staying at the resort currently other than Patch. Though, Patch does not really count. Patch has been staying with Lek and his family for over five months now.

Patch is running from the law. He hurt a police officer and is trying to figure out what his next move will be. In the meantime, he is helping Lek w
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Cross Currents is set in Ko Phi Phi island in 2004, in the days leading up to the tsunami. It is a wonderful story of family relationships and human strength. I was completely drawn into this novel. John Shors was able to transport me to the island. His writing captured all of my senses. The characters are not perfect, but I cared deeply about them and was moved by their relationships and interactions. I knew that the story would ultimately include the tragic tsunami which devastated the island ...more
A light novel of two brothers with differing viewpoints of life and how they choose to live it. The books takes us to the island of Ko Phi Phi in Thailand, a land where despite not having much, Lek and Sarai – owners of a beach resort, work hard and are happy and thankful for what they have despite their myriad of challenges. Renting one of their bungalows is Patch, who having run afoul of the authorities has fled Bangkok and is laying low in Ko Phi Phi. Living among Lek and Sarai’s children, Pa ...more
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Hi, everyone. I hope this message finds people well.

I'm the bestselling author of Unbound, Beneath a Marble Sky, Temple of a Thousand Faces, Cross Currents, Beside a Burning Sea, Dragon House, and The Wishing Trees. My novels have won multiple awards and have been translated into twenty six languages. I have also spoken (via speakerphone) with more than 3,000 book clubs around the world.

For more i
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