Bangkok Wakes to Rain

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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.


“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.”
The 25 Most Anticipated Books of 2019

“[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

“…beautifully written, epic…”
Southern Living