Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club is another Audible Original, but this time it is based on a play. From what I gather, it played at the 2020 Williamstown Theatre Festival (charmingly known as WTF). Since 2020 was the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the play was created virtually, though I don’t know all the details.
Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club is a play about a group of women who traveled to Bangkok to receive gender affirmation surgery. The group of ladies calls themselves The Butterfly Club, and each member of the club stays at the Chonburi International Hotel for a few days before and several weeks after the surgery. As they are recuperating, and having all gone through a similar experience, they support each other physically, mentally, and emotionally.
The play begins with one of the members of The Butterfly Club leaving as she is done with her recovery and ready to resume her life outside Thailand. As she is leaving, a new woman arrives: Kina. Kina is played by the play’s author Shakina Nayfack, and she write the play based on her experiences of having gender affirmation surgery in Bangkok and recuperating at a hotel. While the play is a work of fiction, it’s based on her real life experiences. This means that while some things were written for dramatic effect, they don’t take anything away from the play’s verisimilitude.
Since Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club is based on a play rather than an audiobook, it comes in at a little under two hours. During my commute, most audiobooks or audio dramas last most of the week, but this one went by pretty quickly. Despite this, it’s memorable. I think it’s a worthwhile listen for anyone who is interested in reading or listening to stories by trans authors. Seeing that today is June 1st, and June is Pride month, I encourage anyone who is interested in Pride activities to take a few hours to listen to Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club.