Pitchaya Sudbanthad, "Bangkok Wakes to Rain," with Ted Thompson
February 21, 2019, 7:00 PM
A house in Bangkok is the confluence of lives shaped by upheaval, memory, and the lure of home.
A missionary doctor pines for his native New England even as he succumbs to the vibrant chaos of nineteenth-century Siam. A post-WWII society woman marries, mothers, and holds court, little suspecting her solitary future. A jazz pianist in the age of rock, haunted by his own ghosts, is summoned to appease the resident spirits. A young woman tries to outpace the long shadow of her political past. And in New Krungthep, savvy teenagers row tourists past landmarks of the drowned old city they themselves do not remember. Time collapses as these stories collide and converge, linked by the forces voraciously making and remaking the amphibious, ever-morphing capital itself.
"There's a simple, ingenious conceit to this book-the stories a house can contain, from Bangkok's colonial past to its antediluvian future. This is a bold and tender novel about the unforgivable and the unforgiven, and how to live past what you thought you could survive. Sudbanthad arrives to us already a masterful innovator of the form-a startlingly original debut." - Alexander Chee
"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." - Kare Thompson Walker
Pitchaya Sudbanthad will be joined in conversation by Ted Thompson.
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.
Ted Thompson’s first novel, The Land of Steady Habits, was a finalist for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, and was recently adapted into a film for Netflix by Nicole Holofcener. His stories have appeared in Tin House, VQR, American Short Fiction, One Teen Story, and Best New American Voices. He has received fellowships from MacDowell, Bread Loaf, Writers Omi, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and the Truman Capote Trust, and received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Brooklyn with his family, where he teaches in the Brooklyn College MFA program, and recently completed a new novel.