Bangkok Wakes to Rain (Hardcover)

A Novel

By Pitchaya Sudbanthad

Riverhead Books, 9780525534761, 352pp.

Publication Date: February 19, 2019

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


A virtuosic novel in which a house at the center of Bangkok is the confluence of lives shaped by upheaval, memory, and the lure of home, in the lineage of David Mitchell, Hari Kunzru, and Anthony Marra.

In the center of the most fluid of cities, a house endures two centuries' ebb and flow of change as it plays host to longings and losses past, present, and future. A nineteenth-century missionary doctor pines for the comforts of New England even as he finds the vibrant chaos on the doorstep increasingly difficult to resist. A society woman marries, mothers, and holds court in the house's 1930s heyday, little suspecting she will wind up alone. A jazz pianist is summoned in the 1950s to conjure music to dispel the resident spirits, even as he's haunted by the ghosts of his former life. In the present, a young woman gives swimming lessons in the luxury condos that have eclipsed the old house, trying to outpace the long shadow of her political past. And in the post-submergence Bangkok of the future, a band of savvy teenagers guides tourists and former residents past waterlogged, ruined landmarks, selling them tissues to wipe their tears for places they themselves do not remember.

Time collapses as these stories collide and converge, linked by blood, memory, yearning, chance, and the forces voraciously making and remaking the amphibian, ever-morphing city itself. Bangkok Wakes to Rain is a wildly imaginative, mesmerizing reading experience from an author at the beginning of what promises to be a thrilling career.

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.