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Bangkok Wakes to Rain

A Novel
Narrated by: Euan Morton
Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"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 best-selling author of Exit West)

A missionary doctor pines for his native New England even as he succumbs to the vibrant chaos of 19th-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.

©2019 Pitchaya Sudbanthad (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

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)

“[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)

“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] 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)

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  • R.
  • 04-04-19

Blown away

I loved this book. I'm definitely partial to literary fiction. This was beautifully written and profound. I think the connection between these people was unusual and special.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Embarrassing Thai pronunciations

Why have a reader read stories about Thailand but this reader can not pronounce Thai words and names? I can not finish the audio because it sounds like finger nails scratching on a black board.
Did you think that people would not notice? Is Thai such an unimportant language that it doesn’t matter how you pronounce it?
Embarrassing & insulting.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful