Bangkok Wakes to Rain

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US: Penguin Random House  Riverhead Books  Pub date: Feb. 19, 2019
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / iBook / Indiebound / Powell’s / PRH

UK: Hodder & Stoughton  Sceptre Pub date: Feb. 21, 2019
Amazon UK / Hodder / Waterstones

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

Advance praise includes selection in:

  • Esquire: The 25 Most Anticipated Books of 2019

  • Lit Hub: Most Anticipated Books of 2019

  • The Millions: Most Anticipated in 2019
  • The Rumpus: What to Read in 2019

A missionary begs to be moved from disease-ridden Bangkok. A musician plays a private show for ghosts. A student abandoned by his lover bleeds to death in the street. A plastic surgeon designs a girl a new face. A woman decides whether to cook a final meal for a dying murderer.

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.

Praise and reviews

“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, author of Exit West

“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 Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night

“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 Dreamers and The Age of Miracles

“Gorgeously polyphonic and saturated in the senses, Bangkok Wakes to Rain brims with a wistful and gripping energy. Sudbanthad carries us through time and space with a magician’s hand, with a visionary’s eye—he brilliantly sounds the resonant pulse of the capital city, of his characters’ lives. This wise and far-reaching meditation on home will sink into your bones.”
Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Gold Fame Citrus

“Pitchaya Sudbanthad’s beautiful, ambitious first novel 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

“A portrait of Bangkok that sweeps across a century and a teeming cast of characters that 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 Review (starred review)

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

“[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.”
Publishers Weekly

“…Bangkok Wakes to Rain already looks set to be one of 2019’s essential reads.”
Lit Hub

“…Bangkok Wakes to Rain feels like watching a spinning top stay perfectly upright. The stories move together to create a potent, elegiac whole…This is an assured debut, a testament to Sudbanthad’s skill that he succeeds at such a conceptually and formally challenging work…”
Shelf Awareness

“Immersive doesn’t even begin to describe it: I sunk into this book — I almost felt like I drowned in it… it belongs in a league of its own.”
Lauren P. at Powell’s Books (Staff Pick)

“…a fantastically inventive and moving novel in stories. So rich in character and place, so aware of the invisible connections between people, this novel made me long to live in its world.”
Newtonville Books (Staff Pick)

“…beautifully written, epic…”
Southern Living, The Best New Books of Winter 2019