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Bangkok Wakes to Rain
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Monthly Pick > April 2019 - Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad

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message 1: by Marvin, Bobamaster (new) - added it

Marvin Yueh | 40 comments Mod
Have you finished our April book pick yet? Use this thread to share your thoughts!


message 2: by Julie (last edited Apr 17, 2019 11:41AM) (new) - added it

Julie (3x5books) | 29 comments ETA: NPR has a good, albeit short, interview with Pitchaya Sudbanthan here.

This is a hard one to talk about. It doesn't have a plot, it's told in a nonlinear way, and we don't spend a lot of time with each of the characters we follow. The Nee and Nok stories were probably my favourite, but the speculative parts later on were interesting too.

One could argue it's "about" water, since it seems to feature prominently throughout the book: the river, flooding, rain, the condo's pool, the koi pond, the waterfalls at Erawan National Park… If a location has a bay or pond or other water feature, Sudbanthad will mention it.

"Even with decades of floods, most Thais aren't shying from water. It feels good having it all around, misting faces even while hiking up the trail. Water means home."

The sentiment echos Phineas Stevens' old-timey paternalistic racism early on, "The Siamese as a race thrive in the aquatic realm. They live as if they have been born sea nymphs that only recently joined the race of man."

As a whole, it was interesting, even if there were parts I didn't love (oh, Sammy).

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

(This post gave me the inspiration to finish it. Like Marvin, I've been reading a lot of books this month. My library holds for The True Queen and The Night Tiger just came in (by two previous B&B authors) and I'm working on Descendant of the Crane.)


message 3: by Nina (last edited Jan 18, 2021 03:48PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nina (purplelalaland) | 7 comments There are SPOILERS in this comment!

To add to the discussion of "water", I also thought it was really interesting that the prevalence of water throughout the book can be identified on a spectrum of good and evil. Nee successfully uses her swimming abilities and the river to escape death from the October massacres. She uses the pool as an advantage in getting her office job, as a source of income, as a source of peace. But on the other end of the spectrum, water destroys the whole city and economy.

I grew up in Hawaii and have always lived in coastal cities, and felt that the ocean really draws me. It's definitely not to the extent described in this book.

And as a random other note, it was only after listening to the podcast did I realize that the shadow of a child that Mai showed Pig was the child that fell during the construction of the building. The story is told in such a way that it's so easy to forget about certain characters and they show up in the most unexpected ways, but only if you can remember.


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