An intoxicating collage of lives intersecting around a building in Bangkok.
Places remember us...
'An important, ambitious, and accomplished novel. Sudbanthad deftly sweeps us up in a tale that paints a twin portrait: of a megacity like those so many of us call home and of a world where sanctuary is increasingly hard to come by' Mohsin Hamid
In the restless city of Bangkok, there is a house.
Over the last two centuries, it has played host to longings and losses past, present, and future, and has witnessed lives shaped by upheaval, memory and the lure of home.
A nineteenth-century missionary pines for the comforts of New England, even as he finds the vibrant foreign chaos of Siam increasingly difficult to resist. A jazz pianist is summoned in the 1970s to conjure music that will pacify resident spirits, even as he's haunted by ghosts of his former life. A young woman in a time much like our own 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 submerged Bangkok of the future, a band of savvy teenagers guides tourists and former residents past waterlogged landmarks, selling them tissues to wipe their tears for places they themselves do not remember.
Time collapses as their stories collide and converge, linked by blood, memory, yearning, chance, and the forces voraciously making and remaking the amphibian, ever-morphing city itself.
Praise for Bangkok Wakes to Rain:
'Beautifully textured and rich with a sense of place, this is a big, ambitious book. I love the way Sudbanthad so 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
'There's a simple, ingenious conceit to this book - the stories a house can contain, from Bangkok's colonial past to its antediluvian future. This is a bold and tender novel about the unforgivable and the unforgiven, and how to live past what you thought you could not survive. Sudbanthad arrives to us already a masterful innovator of the form - a startlingly original debut.' Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night
'Pitchaya Sudbanthad's beautiful, ambitious first novel Bangkok Wakes To Rain moves with an elegant restlessness that seems to match the city's own. Reading this book feels like waking to a singular and important new voice.' Rajesh Parameswaran, author of I Am An Executioner
Pitchaya Sudbanthad's debut novel BANGKOK WAKES TO RAIN is forthcoming from Riverhead Books (US) and Sceptre (UK).
He has received fellowships in fiction writing from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony, and currently splits time between Bangkok and Brooklyn.