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Bangkok Wakes to Rain


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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.


One of 2019's "Most Anticipated" Books: Esquire Huff Post The Millions The Week Lit Hub Electric Literature

"Captures the nation's lush history in all its turbulence and resilience ... flowing gracefully from historical fiction to contemporary realism to science fiction ... Entrancing. ... Sudbanthad's narrative is not just a tribute to his home, it's an act of resistance against the city's mildew and amnesia. ... a way of preserving what is otherwise inscribed only on the liquid surface of memory." --Washington Post "Remarkable...Ambitious and sweeping, yet at once intimately crafted and shot through with fine detail, Bangkok Wakes to Rain is a sumptuous accomplishment." --Esquire "Expertly evokes a sense of place -- [Sudbanthad's] descriptions of Thailand are gorgeous; the reader feels transported there. Bangkok Wakes to Rain is well worth reading. It's a strong debut from an intelligent, self-assured author." --NPR

"A sweeping epic with the amphibious city of the title at its scintillating turns realistic and mystical, historical and speculative, the book is beautifully diffuse.... Sudbanthad's elaborate, time-hopping saga explores class stratifications, intercultural connections and disconnections, and finely textured layers of history, all the while raising fascinating questions about the future." --Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"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 "This prismatic debut peels back the layers of a Thai manse, whose past residents--among them a disillusioned American missionary and a world-weary jazz musician--still haunt its hallways metaphorically and literally." --O, the Oprah Magazine "[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

"Bangkok Wakes to Rain is itself a sort of house of ghosts and those haunted by them, in a cycle of vivid life and aching loss... The technology Sudbanthad imagines is a marvel, but it's one that might be modeled on what this novel does so beautifully: bringing a place and its people alive through story." --Tampa Bay Times

"[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] stunning novel, crafted with an entirely unique narrative structure... Sudbanthad is a remarkable talent, and I'm excited for readers to dive into a novel as rich, complex, and accomplished as Bangkok Wakes to Rain." --Apogee "[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

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