Bangkok Wakes to Rain (Hardcover)

A Novel

By Pitchaya Sudbanthad

Riverhead Books, 9780525534761, 368pp.

Publication Date: February 19, 2019

List Price: 27.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

A house in Bangkok is the confluence of lives shaped by upheaval, memory, and the lure of home.

"Important, ambitious, and accomplished... Sudbanthad deftly sweeps us up in a tale that paints a twin portrait: of a megacity... and of a world where sanctuary is increasingly hard to come by." --Mohsin Hamid, New York Times bestselling author of Exit West


A missionary doctor pines for his native New England even as he succumbs to the vibrant chaos of nineteenth-century Siam. A post-WWII society woman marries, mothers, and holds court, little suspecting her solitary future. A jazz pianist in the age of rock, haunted by his own ghosts, is summoned to appease the resident spirits. A young woman tries to outpace the long shadow of her political past. And in New Krungthep, savvy teenagers row tourists past landmarks of the drowned old city they themselves do not remember. Time collapses as these stories collide and converge, linked by the forces voraciously making and remaking the amphibious, ever-morphing capital itself.


About the Author

Pitchaya Sudbanthad grew up in Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and the American South. He's a contributing writer at The Morning News and has received fellowships in fiction writing from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the MacDowell Colony.


Praise For Bangkok Wakes to Rain: A Novel

One of 2019’s “Most Anticipated” Books: Esquire ● Huff Post ● The Millions ● The Week ● Lit Hub ● Electric Literature

“Remarkable...Ambitious and sweeping, yet at once intimately crafted and shot through with fine detail, Bangkok Wakes to Rain is a sumptuous accomplishment.” —Esquire

“Sudbanthad spans an entire century in his vast, illuminating portrait of Bangkok, bringing together a cast of characters as they experience love, revolution, and sorrow.” —Entertainment Weekly

“[Sudbanthad’s] glittering tales of the title city accumulate into a mosaic of jagged puzzle pieces whose chronological leaps make the whole thing come together only more powerfully by the end.” Vulture
 
“[W]ith its wide cast and still wider timeframes, Pitchaya Sudbanthad’s debut rewards close attention….Bangkok unifies his characters’ lives and, in a climate of concern for the city’s future, amid rising sea levels, so does water, with its fearsome power to transform, disrupt, slaughter and redeem….Sudbanthad’s blend of travelogue with social and political history is compelling in his treatment of expatriation….the ambitious structure pays off.” —Financial Times

“Gorgeously polyphonic and saturated in the senses, this novel brims with a wistful and gripping energy as it carries us through time and space. Sudbanthad brilliantly sounds the resonant pulse of the city in a wise and far-reaching meditation on home.” —Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Gold Fame Citrus and Battleborn

“[A] writer born in Thailand and now living in New York creates a portrait of Bangkok that sweeps across a century and a teeming cast of characters yet shines with exquisite detail. …This breathtakingly lovely novel is an accomplished debut, beautifully crafted and rich with history rendered in the most human terms.”  –Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“[I]n this assured debut, Sudbanthad provides a broad overview of Bangkok’s history while diving deep into individual stories of romance, revolution, and suffering…vivid stories that combine to create a resonant whole.” –Booklist

"A bold and tender novel with a simple, ingenious conceit --the stories a house can contain, from a city's colonial past to its antediluvian future. Sudbanthad arrives to us already a masterful innovator of the form—a startlingly original debut."
 –Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night
 
“Beautifully textured and rich with a sense of place, this is a big, ambitious book. Sudbanthad compellingly captures not only the long arcs of these lives but also the smallest moments, and how those moments linger in memory, how they haunt.”
–Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles and The Dreamers

"Beautifully written." –Southern Living, Best New Winter Books

“[M]editative…beautifully wrought…all of Sudbanthad’s characters live and breathe with authenticity, and his prose is deeply moving, making for an evocative debut.” –Publisher's Weekly