When I first visited Thailand’s Deep South, I knew nothing about its history.
I wandered aimlessly, always trying to see beyond the ongoing conflict, untilI came across this mysterious house that seemed, somehow, more than just a building. This was a sanctuary of light and shadow; a poignant reminder of the solitude and memories carved in the region’s divided soul, trapped in limbo, yearning for its forgotten splendour, held captive by its desolation. The house urged me to look into the past. I would have never imagined that after crossing its entrance, and as the outside world closed behind me, it would draw me into the depths of my consciousness.The four-year journey was full of serendipity, a series of remarkable coincidences such as my encounters with the Thai writer Tew Bunnag, to whom I owe the foreword,and with my editor Narisa Chakrabongse. Both, as I would later find out, are strongly connected to the story I will relate, as their forefathers played a pivotal role in the region’s destiny, akin to the struggle of my ancestors in medieval Spain. My dear friend Hannan, who helped me delve into the house’s past, is also linked to it by family ties.In some strange way, the house has gathered us all. We are what remains of our ancestors, carrying quiescent memories that may be invoked in unexpected ways by certain things, places or people for whom we feel a deep, yet inscrutable, affection, like the entreating message of nostalgia that assailed me the first time I set foot in the House of the Raja.