Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Four Reigns” as Want to Read:
Four Reigns
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Four Reigns

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  498 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
This English version of the Thai novel Si Phaendin tells the rich and entertaining story of one woman's life both inside and outside the royal palace in Bangkok. Spanning a period of four reigns, from King Chulalongkorn to the reign of his grandson King Ananda, this popular modern classic gives insight into the social and political issues facing Thailand from the 1890s thr ...more
Paperback, 663 pages
Published December 1st 1998 by Silkworm Books (first published April 1st 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone curious in how "Thainess" is constructed
While I have been living here in Bangkok for over half a year now, I noticed I hadn’t read any Thai literature at all. I came across this book on a friend’s bookshelf and figured I might as well read it. I already had my preconceptions on the book before I started reading. It’s a classic in Thailand that has been turned in several theatre-plays, movies and tv-series. As the monarchy is constantly in the background throughout the book (Four Reigns referring to the reigns of four different Kings), ...more
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Patriotic Thai novel, from the era when long fiction was published in weekly newspaper installments. The novel examines the nation's modernization as seen by Phloi, a young girl who goes over the decades from attendant to a princess of the blood to matron. Phloi sees the country go from the insular, pre-automobile reign of Rama V (the successor to the king who has been whose reign was rendered so poorly by Rodgers and Hammerstein) to that of Rama VIII, who was born in Heidelberg and spent World ...more
If Thailand has a quintessential novel, this is kind of it, complete with the big, Dickensian scope over the course of pivotal points in the nation's history. And it's popular and much adapted, with the most recent version being a horrific-looking big Andrew Lloyd Webber-type stage show featuring whatever Thai soap opera actors weren't doing much later -- the TV spots showed lots of people weeping and prostrating themselves before radiant golden light.

Regrettably, the widely available translatio
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This book made me think hard about my quest to read a book set in every country in the world. I'd decided not to limit myself to books written by a native of the country. Many of the books I choose are, but it's rare that I read one like this: not only by someone from the country, but written in that country's language for people in that country and only later translated to English. Judging by this book's obscurity in the English-speaking world (apparently it's a major classic in Thailand, but y ...more
ดินสอ สีไม้
ตลอดเวลาทีอาน มีความอิมเอมใจผุดพรายมาเปนระยะ
ทังดวยเรืองในชีวิตของพลอย และเรืองทีเกียวกับพระเจาแผนดิน
ชัวชีวิตของพลอยทีมีความผูกพัน รักและเทิดทูนตอพระมหากษัตริยทุกพระองค
อานแลวกไดอิมเอิบ ปลาบปลืม ตืนตัน

และเรากรักตัวละคร (เกือบ) ทุกตัวในเรืองสีแผนดิน
รักตังแตพลอย ชอย แมแชม คุณสาย เสดจ คุณเปรม อน อัน ออด พอเพิม คุณเชย
เรือยไปจนกระทังคุณอุน แมจะรักยากอยูสักหนอย แตทีแนๆ นันสงสารเธออยางเตมเปียม
Araya Pichitkul
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ดีงาม ซาบซึง ดวยอัจฉริยะภาพของผูประพันธ หลงรักในความดีของแมพลอย ตลกในความคิดแผลงๆของชอย สะทอนภาพการเปลียนแปลงของสียุคไดดีจัง ...more
Gabriela Mengarda
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A nice reading if you are planning to travel to Thailand and want to understand better Thai culture.
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This historical fiction novel is 600 pages, and there are a few instances when I definitely thought the descriptions were drawn out. Having said that, Pramoj provides exquisite details of Thai traditional culture. It was a beautiful read into the inner courts of Thai royalty and upper society. It didn't seem to provide much about other aspects of Thai society, though. Still, the novel addresses some important themes during the reigns of Rama V to Rama VIII - tradition vs. modernity, changing rol ...more
May 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
One of the best English language translations of a Thai novel, this engaging story (which was originally a serial published in a Bangkok newspaper) tells the story of Mae Phloi, a woman who lives through the reigns of four Thai kings - Kings Rama V through VIII. The story traces her life from the daughter of the minor wife of a mid-ranking nobleman through her childhood working in the inner court of the Grand Palace, to her eventual marriage and raising of a family. At every step, Mae Phloi's ex ...more
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
In all honesty I must say that I have read an abridged (English) version. It is the only English version I ever saw in Thailand, by the way.
This book gives an excellent insight in the life at the Thai court during the reigns of King Rama 5 up to King Rama 8.
We follow a girl that starts to live there with her mother, while still very young, until her death as an old woman. She leaves the court when she marries, but she stays in touch.
From the time of her marriage the book concentrates on her f
Dec 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: readingforschool
This is a VERY long book. At over 600 pages, you've got to have a lot of time on your hands just to get through it. But, it's a pleasant read in spite of its length. Phloi, the main character, goes to live in the Thai royal palace as a young girl and then lives through five kings' reigns over Thailand and the massive social and political change that come with them. It's not a heavy-duty book, the themes and lessons are pretty bluntly obvious, and it actually gets a little annoying how "ideal" Ph ...more
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Due to the fact that I myself, am a Thai - this book has proved to be tremendously informative on the history and culture of my own country. Spanning the period of four reigns of four Thai kings, this novel explores the life of "Mae Ploi" as she confronts with radical changes and social conflicts. It is a novel that digresses from usual historical fiction, as it fully plunges you into the themes of emotions, loss and suffering. And more importantly, it is a novel that impresses and never ceases ...more
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
ชีวิตของคน.. ทีไหลหลากดุจสายนำ.. ผานคุงโคง ขวากหนามประดุจสุขทุกขทีผลัดเปลียนกันมาตลอดทังชีวิต... มีสุข มีทุกข สมหวัง พลัดพราก.. สำหรับเรา "สีแผนดิน" โดดเดนมากในการหยิบชีวิตคนหนึงคนมาเลาใหฟัง.จากเลกจนโตจนแก.. .. ฉากหลังทางประวัติศาสตรนันสำหรับเรายังดูไม"แนน" พอทีจะมาประกอบ... สิงทีดูหนักแนนทำใหนิยายมีชีวิตชีวาตลอดเรืองแมจะหนาขนาดนัน... กคือความหลากหลายในหลายชีวิตของตัวละคร.. ซึงกคือชีวิตจริงๆของเราๆ

(ปล.เราไดอานคนทีถกเถียงเรืองนีวาเปนนิยายอวยเจาแลวตลกมาก... มันจะโยงกันใหไดทุกเรืองเปนการเมืองซะหมดเ
Pookan Ruengwes
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
อานแลวรูสึกถึงความไมเทาเทียมทางเพศ(ไมรูวาสมัยนันจริงๆจะขนาดไหน แตนีคงเปนความเหนของคุณคึกฤทธิ) ผูชายยุคนันดูจะมองวาผูหญิงทำอะไรไมได และผูหญิงเองกเปนอะไรทีนาหงุดหงิด เอาแตคิดวาตัวเองเปนพลเมืองชัน2 โชคชะตาจะดีจะรายกขึนอยูกับผูชาย ไมเคยเรียกรองสิทธิอะไรใหกับตัวเองเลย โดยเฉพาะแมพลอย

Giuseppe Sepe
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
But I'm so tired. I've lived under four reigns - lived a long time -long enough...
The Alp
Feb 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
นอกจากประวัติศาสตรประเพณีในยุคสมัยนัน ไดเรียนรูการดำเนินชีวิต ผานชวงเวลาสำคัญ และการเปลียนแปลงทีมีผลกระทบตอตัวเองและครอบครัีว
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ชอบภาษาทีใช ซึงมีเสนหและทำใหเหนความแตกตางของการใชในยุคสมัยนันและเปนการบงบอกถึงชนชันทางสังคม
ชอบการเขาถึงความรูสึกตางๆผานตัวแมพลอยในความรัก ความสงสัย ความกลัว ความจงรักภักดี
Ploy Suriyaporn
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ผสมกันระหวางหนังสือเมือคุณตาคุณยายยังเดก บวกกับ Bildungroman บวกกับ parody วางไมลง
- จากใจแมพลอย หนักแผนดิน
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
I found this book declined significantly as it went on. It got more preachy and the characters became less interesting/realistic. The main character is lauded a being essentially perfect (particularly in her humility) but she's either purposefully ignorant of the world around her, or an idiot, or possibly both. Whatever the truth, everyone around her (including her children) treats her like a small child, and she seems to prefer it that way. The royalists are all moral, upright individuals and t ...more
Willem Van
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book which I enjoyed a lot. I have now lived 12 years in Thailand and have seen a lot of “Phloi’s” during that time. The book is well written and one can taste the Thainess throughout it. For those interested in Thailand and its ways I highly recommend it.
Levonne Goh
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is a very lengthy book that requires some stamina to get through... that said, the book illustrated the lives of Thai citizens under the four reigns colourfully, and it was a journey for the reader as much as it was for Phloi, the protagonist, as we followed her growth through the years.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Written by a Thai author. Highly recommend.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thai-novels
เลอคาสุดจะบรรยายคะ คนไทยทุกคนควรอาน และมีไวทีตูหนังสือประจำบานคะ ...more
Natnada Ruengrittha
เปนเรืองทีอานแลวแตอยากอานอีกเรือย ๆ ...more
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-the-world
read-the-world challenge: Thailand

On January 1st I flew from Malaysia to Thailand, so I started my read-the-world challenge with these 2 countries.
I quite enjoyed this book (in addition to the awesomeness of having 4 stamp images on the cover [4 reigns = 4 kings = 4 stamps]).
We first meet Phloi at age 10 in the 1890s; the book follows her life into the 1940s. It's a great peek into Thai customs & the changes undergone by the country in that time frame.
Late in the book, Phloi declares hers
Good Afternoon
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
แมพลอยจา ไดอานชีวิตแมพลอยเหมือนไดอานประวัติศาสตรของประเทศไดดวย ทำใหรูวาคนสมัยนันเคาคิดกันยังไง ดีจริงๆเลย ...more
Pairash Pleanmalai
เนือเรืองแบบเรือยๆ แตอานแลวกฟินกับบรรยากาศ ตังแตสมัยร.5 ถึง ร.8
Jul 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
ok, fascinating to the extent that it provided some take on courtlife (although this was so scrubbed and thus flat that I had to choke it down with blocks of salt)... just consider who is the author. the characters were exceedingly one dimensional.

I thought Thailand's shocking role in WWII was over. its justification and rationalization were barely described here. I can't believe that the Thai people at the time were not aware of the atrocities that were occurring all aroun
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
เปนหนังสือคลายบันทึกเรืองราวตางๆสมัยรัชกาลที 5-8 ซึงมองผานมุมมองของหญิงชาววัง ทีเหมาะสมและครอบคลุมตอเรืองทีเราควรรู เชนเรืองในรัวในวัง หรือเรืองชีวิตชาวบานรานตลาด ประเพณี เทศกาลดีๆในสมัยนัน กถูกมองผานความคิดเหนทีเปนระเบียบแบบแผน ทำใหเขาใจงายทังเรืองทีเกิดขึน และเรืองทีตัวละครกำลังนึกคิด
รักเรืองนีมาก ยิงพอไดดูละครกยิงหลงรัก เพราะถายทอดออกมาไดสมกับทีบรรยายเอาไวดวย
ภาษาสมัยเกามักมีเสนห ทำใหชวนติดตามและรูสึกละมุนละไมทำใหนึกสนุกไปพรอมกันดวย
สนุกมาก และใหความรูทางประวัติศาสตรไทยทีแมแตคนทีไมชอบเรืองแนวน
Sep 05, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a historical novel - the main character lives through the lives of King Rama V through King Rama VIII of Thailand (late 19th century to mid 20th century). She is a courtier of the royal family and as a result sees from within the changes in Thai society as it becomes increasingly intertwined with Europe - including both world wars.

This was written in 1950 so the author has personal familiarity with the time covered as well. He had me convinced!

Interesting book and I would recommend defin
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Letters from Thailand
  • Sightseeing
  • A History of Thailand
  • Jasmine Nights
  • The Pillar of Salt
  • คำพิพากษา
  • Csardas
  • Jim Thompson: The Unsolved Myst
  • Our Lady of the Nile
  • A Different Sky
  • Smile As They Bow
  • Song of the Silk Road
  • The Secret Agent
  • Black Flower
  • Memories of a Pure Spring
  • Touch The Dragon: A Thai Journal
  • Patchwork
  • The Happiness of Kati

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • An Empty Cup
    $3.99 $1.99
  • I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Underground River
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Word Game
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fraulein M.
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sister of Mine
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Bury What We Cannot Take
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Chomp
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Searching for Grace Kelly
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Bricking It
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre (Great Episodes)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Starfish
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Thunder and Rain
    $9.99 $2.99
  • All Grown Up
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Light of Hidden Flowers
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Olive's Ocean
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ecstasy
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Elephant Keeper's Daughter
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Virtues of Oxygen
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Home to Harmony (Harmony #1)
    $11.14 $1.99
  • Dog Crazy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Towers of Tuscany
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Who We Were Before
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River, #2)
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Sin No More (Reverend Curtis Black)
    $10.39 $1.99
  • The List
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Lost & Found
    $5.74 $1.99
  • A Watershed Year
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Savage
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Designer
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Novice: A Story of True Love
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Go Away Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Leaving of Things
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Train I Ride
    $6.99 $1.99
  • We'll Always Have Paris: Stories
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Hidden Flower
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Greyhound
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lisette's List
    $11.99 $1.99
  • This Burns My Heart
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Journeys of Socrates
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Annie on My Mind
    $9.99 $1.20
  • An Absent Mind
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Book of Ruth
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Smoke
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Covenant
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Digging In
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
    $11.99 $12.99
  • The Traveling Vampire Show
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Going Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • In Between Days
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Girl in the Glass
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Super Sad True Love Story
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Prayers and Lies
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Go the F**k to Sleep
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Just a Couple of Days
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Girls from Corona del Mar
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Daughter of Union County
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Fighting Ground
    $6.49 $1.99
  • Delicious!
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Embers
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Sugar Men
    $3.99 $1.99
  • You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Last Storyteller: A Novel Of Ireland
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Vengeance Road
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ungifted
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Julie of the Wolves
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Stiltsville: A Novel
    $10.99 $1.99
  • To the Bright Edge of the World
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Patriots
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Flicker of Old Dreams
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All the Good Parts
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Food of Love
    $3.99 $1.99
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow
    $11.99 $2.99
  • A Scattered Life
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Every Ugly Word
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Desert God (Ancient Egypt, #5)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack, #1)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • An Amish Buggy Ride
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Old Yeller
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Elizabeth Street
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Gates of Rome (Emperor, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $4.99 $1.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Sinful Calling (Reverend Curtis Black #13)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • On a Cold Dark Sea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • My Lady Viper (Tales from the Tudor Court #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Edward Adrift
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $1.99
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »