Bangkok Wakes to Rain

Bangkok Wakes to Rain

Book - 2019
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"A house in the center of Bangkok becomes the point of confluence where lives are shaped by upheaval, memory, and the lure of home. Witness to two centuries' flux in one of the world's most restless cities, a house plays host to longings and losses past, present, and future. A nineteenth-century missionary doctor pines for the comforts of New England even as he finds the vibrant foreign chaos of Siam increasingly difficult to resist. A post-war society woman marries, mothers, and holds court, little suspecting the course of her future. 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. Not long after, a young woman 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 post-submergence Bangkok of the future, a band of savvy teenagers guides tourists and former residents past waterlogged, ruined landmarks, selling them tissues to wipe their tears for places they themselves do not remember. 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. Bangkok Wakes to Rain is a wildly imaginative, mesmerizing reading experience from an author at the beginning of what promises to be a thrilling career"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Riverhead Books,, [2019]
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781473677272
Branch Call Number: FICTION Sudbanthad 2019
Characteristics: 360 pages ; 24 cm


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EKGO Jun 18, 2020

Told in a non-linear progression of vignettes that reach back to the late 1800's and forward to maybe the 2050's, this story centers on a house in Krung Thep, a.k.a. Bangkok. Characters come and go, some overlap with other character's stories and others do not.
Sense of place is a strong feature in this book, overshadowing but also enhancing the characters as well as the flow of time.
Recommended to readers who enjoyed learning about Japan and Korea in Pachinko by Min Jin Lee or readers who loved moving forward with a revolving door of characters in Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

Apr 27, 2020

Although the book is confusing at times, I eventually got into the story and the characters (it does help to know a little about Bangkok). If you enjoyed Cloud Atlas, you'll find this one does similar time travel and is somewhat more accessible; i.e., none of it is told in pidgin.

Feb 06, 2020

I am very familiar with Bangkok and Thailand having spent quite a bit of time there. Without that background, and an understanding of Thai people's names, I think most readers would quickly get lost in the story line of this book. The author jumps back and forth between various characters, time frames, locations and historic events. Clever? Maybe, but quite confusing and it makes some of the narration difficult to follow.

Mar 11, 2019

I currently have this book on loan. I tried to read it but I can’t. The font style and size is very irritatingly small. My eyes were watering after reading the first two pages. I’ll return the book tomorrow.

Feb 17, 2019

StarTrib Feb 17, 2019. Pitchaya Sudbanthad’s monumental and polyphonic debut novel, “Bangkok Wakes to Rain,” is a sweeping epic with the amphibi- ous city of the title at its scintillating center. The individual stories seem disconnected at first, almost like raindrops, discrete unto themselves. But like raindrops, these stories flow together to make a totality, a stream of nar- rative that floods the reader with the vibrant sense of a global metropolis whose only constant is constant change. Sudbanthad weaves his interconnected tales around a said-to-be-haunted “old colonial-style man- sion,” a literal and symbolic hub of Bang- kok’s perpetual transformations. The novel’s texture feels cinematic, but more immersive than a movie, in part because of the evocation of the scents of the setting: “the ashen smell always in the air. Sudbanthad was born in Thailand, grew up in Saudi Arabia and the American South, and now splits his time between Bangkok and Brooklyn. His ambitious novel reflects that peripatetic and cosmopolitan sensibil- ity. Divided into four parts, by turns realistic and mystical, historical and speculative, the book is beautifully diffuse. the vein of Arundhati Roy, Haruki Murakami or David Mitchell, Sudbanthad’s elaborate, time-hopping saga explores class stratifications, intercultural connections and disconnections, and finely textured layers of history, all the while raising fas- cinating questions about the future. Each individual character is finely drawn, but the brightest portrait he paints is of the city of Bangkok itself, illustrating how places of dense human habitation are not unlike rivers, surging with water from countless sources to make a single, unpredictable and unstoppable force.


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