Bangkok Wakes to Rain
by Pitchaya Sudbanthad


Overview -
"Recreates the experience of living in Thailand's aqueous climate so viscerally that you can feel the water rising around your ankles." --Ron Charles, Washington Post

"Important, ambitious, and accomplished." --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-World War II society woman marries, mothers, and holds court, little suspecting her solitary fate. A jazz pianist in the age of rock, haunted by his own ghosts, is summoned to appease the house's resident spirits. In the present, a young woman tries to outpace the long shadow of her political past. And in a New Krungthep yet to come, savvy teenagers row tourists past landmarks of the drowned old city they themselves do not remember. Time collapses as these lives collide and converge, linked by the forces voraciously making and remaking the amphibious, ever-morphing capital itself. Bangkok Wakes to Rain is an elegy for what time erases and a love song to all that persists, yearning, into the unknowable future.

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More About Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad
 
 
 
Overview
"Recreates the experience of living in Thailand's aqueous climate so viscerally that you can feel the water rising around your ankles." --Ron Charles, Washington Post

"Important, ambitious, and accomplished." --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-World War II society woman marries, mothers, and holds court, little suspecting her solitary fate. A jazz pianist in the age of rock, haunted by his own ghosts, is summoned to appease the house's resident spirits. In the present, a young woman tries to outpace the long shadow of her political past. And in a New Krungthep yet to come, savvy teenagers row tourists past landmarks of the drowned old city they themselves do not remember. Time collapses as these lives collide and converge, linked by the forces voraciously making and remaking the amphibious, ever-morphing capital itself. Bangkok Wakes to Rain is an elegy for what time erases and a love song to all that persists, yearning, into the unknowable future.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780525534761
  • ISBN-10: 0525534768
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books
  • Publish Date: February 2019
  • Page Count: 368
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.25 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Cultural Heritage
Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Asian American

 
BookPage Reviews

Bangkok Wakes to Rain

Krungthep, Bangkok, New Krungthep—the Thai capital city goes by many names and assumes many, ever-changing facades in Bangkok Wakes to Rain. Past and future intermingle like the waters that converge in the Chao Phraya river running through the heart of the city. 

Pitchaya Sudbanthad’s first novel ranges wide in time and scope, and the author masterfully captures dozens of different voices and thoughts in his vast cast: the vagabond photographer who avoids returning to his ancestral home; a 19th-century missionary doctor who wants nothing more than a transfer to another posting when he first arrives in Siam; studious young swimmer Mai who achieves success in business that is the stuff of sci-fi dreams; a wandering jazz pianist who goes by “Crazy Legs” and plays for hours in the nightclubs; sisters Nee and Nok, who find themselves forever affected by the student political protests of the 1970s. Teenage girls obsessed with their looks grow into mothers, spouses cheat, parents age and die, and sons and daughters are born. 

This ambitious novel’s many overlapping stories chart a fast pace, and at times, the connective thread between them gets muddled. Sudbanthad’s narrative flits around and back and forth, much like the colorful parrots that inhabit the old colonial house at the epicenter of the novel and, later, the animatronic birds used to scan the infrastructure of the city in a technologically advanced future. The lives of the people who call, or once called, Krungthep home are inextricably tied to this place.

In this city prone to flooding, rain is a constant, continually washing away what once was. And yet, in the words of a mother, “truth lingers, unseen like phantoms but there to rattle and scream wherever people try hardest to forget.”

 
BAM Customer Reviews