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Bangkok Wakes to Rain Book 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 bestselling author of Exit West A missionary doctor pines for his native New England even as he succumbs to the vibrant chaos of nineteenth-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.
Bangkok Wakes to Rain Book 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 bestselling author of Exit West A missionary doctor pines for his native New England even as he succumbs to the vibrant chaos of nineteenth-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.
Bangkok Wakes to Rain Book Summary : SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 EDWARD STANFORD 'FICTION WITH A SENSE OF PLACE' AWARD Places remember us... '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 A missionary begs to be sent home. A jazz pianist is hired to perform for ghosts. An army colonel smells the food of home for the last time. A girl designs herself a new face. An old woman uploads her consciousness. Bangkok Wakes to Rain is an intricately plotted novel where characters and stories are linked by place, not time. As the novel builds to a futuristic crescendo, moments of intimacy serve to remind us that no matter what the ebb of time may change, we humans persevere. Praise for Bangkok Wakes to Rain: 'Compelling' Financial Times 'Breathtakingly lovely' Kirkus 'A sumptuous accomplishment' Esquire 'A simple, ingenious conceit' Alexander Chee 'Elegant and restrained' Wall Street Journal 'Saturated in the senses' Claire Vaye Watkins 'A swirling, always surprising storytelling structure' Guardian 'An original and quietly memorable reading experience' Washington Post 'Beautifully textured and rich with a sense of place' Karen Walker Thompson 'Reading this book feels like waking up to a singular and important new voice' Rajesh Parameswaran
The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth Book Summary : On the day Chareeya is born, her mother discovers her father having an affair with a traditional Thai dancer. From then on, Chareeya's life is fated to carry the weight of her parents' disappointments. She and her sister grow up in a lush riverside town near the Thai capital, Bangkok, captivated by trashy romance novels, classical music and games of make-believe. When the laconic orphan, Pran, enters their world, he unwittingly lures the sisters into a labyrinth of their own making as they each try to escape their intertwined fates. The original Thai language edition of The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinthwon the prestigious South East Asian Writers ("S.E.A. Write") Award for fiction and was a best-seller in Thailand. It is translated into English by Thai film critic and recipient of France's Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Kong Rithdee. Attuned to the addictive rhythms of a Thai soap opera and written with the consuming intensity of a fever dream, this novel opens an insightful and truly compelling window onto the Thai heart. "Mesmerising and unputdownable - a virtuoso translation of what must surely be one of the best Thai novels to make it into English." - Lawrence Osborne, author of Hunters in the Darkand Only to Sleep
Everything Matters Book Summary : "Startlingly talented . . . he survives the inevitable, apt comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut and writes in a tenderly mordant voice all his own." -Janet Maslin, The New York Times Look for Ron Currie's new novel, The One-Eyed Man, coming in March 2017 In this novel rich in character, Junior Thibodeau grows up in rural Maine in a time of Atari, baseball cards, pop Catholicism, and cocaine. He also knows something no one else knows-neither his exalted parents, nor his baseball-savant brother, nor the love of his life (she doesn't believe him anyway): The world will end when he is thirty-six. While Junior searches for meaning in a doomed world, his loved ones tell an all-American family saga of fathers and sons, blinding romance, lost love, and reconciliation-culminating in one final triumph that reconfigures the universe. A tour de force of storytelling, Everything Matters! is a genre-bending potpourri of alternative history, sci-fi, and the great American tale in the tradition of John Irving and Margaret Atwood. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Bangkok 8 Book Summary : A thriller with attitude to spare, Bangkok 8 is a sexy, razor-edged, often darkly hilarious novel set in one of the world’s most exotic cities. Witnessed by a throng of gaping spectators, a charismatic Marine sergeant is murdered under a Bangkok bridge inside a bolted-shut Mercedes Benz. Among the witnesses are the only two cops in the city not on the take, but within moments one is murdered and his partner, Sonchai Jitpleecheep—a devout Buddhist and the son of a Thai bar girl and a long-gone Vietnam War G.I.—is hell-bent on wreaking revenge. On a vigilante mission to capture his partner’s murderer, Sonchai is begrudgingly paired with a beautiful FBI agent named Jones and captures her heart in the process. In a city fueled by illicit drugs and infinite corruption, prostitution and priceless art, Sonchai’s quest for vengeance takes him into a world much more sinister than he could have ever imagined. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Love In No Man s Land Book Summary : An epic saga from Tibet's bestselling author. Perfect for anyone who loved The Kite Runner and Wild Swans. The Changthang Plateau lies in the centre of Tibet. A vast, rolling grassland stippled with azure-blue lakes and ringed by snow peaks, it is home to seven-year-old Gongzha and his family who live, as their ancestors have done for centuries, by herding and hunting. But it is 1967 and the Cultural Revolution is seeping across China. As the Red Guard systematically loot and destroy Tibet's monasteries, Gongzha helps hide two treasures belonging to his local temple: an ebony-black Buddha marked with an ancient symbol and a copy of the twelfth-century text The Epic of King Gesar, written in gold ink. The repercussions of his act will echo across the decades. Gongzha will be taken far from home. He will lose love and find it. He will battle wolves, bears, outlaws and his own self, as legend and history are interwoven in the story of a young man's quest to find happiness in a time of uncertainty and unrest.
The Lost Shtetl Book Summary : A remarkable debut novel—written with the fearless imagination of Michael Chabon and the piercing humor of Gary Shteyngart—about a small Jewish village in the Polish forest that is so secluded no one knows it exists . . . until now. What if there was a town that history missed? For decades, the tiny Jewish shtetl of Kreskol existed in happy isolation, virtually untouched and unchanged. Spared by the Holocaust and the Cold War, its residents enjoyed remarkable peace. It missed out on cars, and electricity, and the internet, and indoor plumbing. But when a marriage dispute spins out of control, the whole town comes crashing into the twenty-first century. Pesha Lindauer, who has just suffered an ugly, acrimonious divorce, suddenly disappears. A day later, her husband goes after her, setting off a panic among the town elders. They send a woefully unprepared outcast named Yankel Lewinkopf out into the wider world to alert the Polish authorities. Venturing beyond the remote safety of Kreskol, Yankel is confronted by the beauty and the ravages of the modern-day outside world – and his reception is met with a confusing mix of disbelief, condescension, and unexpected kindness. When the truth eventually surfaces, his story and the existence of Kreskol make headlines nationwide. Returning Yankel to Kreskol, the Polish government plans to reintegrate the town that time forgot. Yet in doing so, the devious origins of its disappearance come to the light. And what has become of the mystery of Pesha and her former husband? Divided between those embracing change and those clinging to its old world ways, the people of Kreskol will have to find a way to come together . . . or risk their village disappearing for good.
Four Reigns Book Summary : Four Reigns (Sri Phaendin), M.R. Kukrit’s longest and best-known novel, is the rich and entertaining story of the life of Phloi and her family, both inside and outside palace walls. The story unfolds during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V) in the closing years of the 1800s, ending in the mid 1940s with the death of his grandson, King Ananda Mahidol (King Rama VIII). Over a span of four reigns, we see the lives of minor courtiers under the absolute monarchy and watch the huge social and political changes that Thailand experienced as it opened itself up to international contact. We follow the characters against the historical backdrops of the 1932 revolution, the new constitutional monarchy, the growing Japanese presence in Thailand, the outbreak of World War II, and the Allied bombing raids on Bangkok. Through the lives and relationships of Phloi and her husband and children, we experience modern Thai history in an intimate and personal way, garnering new insights into the sensibilities of an era. Four Reigns was originally written in 1953 as a newspaper serial in the Thai daily, Siam Rath, as were M.R. Kukrit’s other popular novels, including Phai Daeng (1954) (Red Bamboo), and Lai Chiwit (1954) (Many Lives). This is a new version of the original 1981 translation by Tulachandra.
What Happens at Night Book Summary : An atmospheric, suspenseful story of a couple's struggle to adopt a baby, while staying in a fading, grand European hotel. (Think: Barton Fink crossed with Patricia Highsmith) In this atmospheric, suspenseful novel, an American couple travels to a strange, snowy European city to adopt a baby, who they hope will resurrect their failing marriage. Their difficult journey leaves the wife, who is struggling with cancer, desperately weak, and her husband worries that her apparent illness will prevent the orphanage from releasing their child. The couple check into the cavernous and eerily deserted Borgarfjaroasysla Grand Imperial Hotel where the bar is always open, the restaurant serves thirteen-course dinners from centuries past, and the doors of the guest rooms have been salvaged from demolished opera houses. Their attempt to claim their baby is both helped and hampered by the people they encounter: an ancient, flamboyant chanteuse, a debauched businessman, an enigmatic faith healer, and a stoic bartender who dispenses an addictive, lichen-flavored schnapps. Nothing is as it seems in this mysterious, frozen world, and the longer the couple endure the punishing cold the less they seem to know about their marriage, themselves, and life itself. What Happens at Night is a "masterpiece" (Edmund White) poised on the cusp of reality, told by "an elegantly acute and mysteriously beguiling writer" (Richard Eder, The Boston Globe).
Sightseeing Book Summary : 'This debut show more than mere promise: it is a fine achievement in its own right.' -- Guardian In poignant, tough, heart-catching episodes, Rattawut Lapcharoensap takes his readers beneath the surface of Thailand to a place that is dynamic and corrupt, full of pride and passion and fear. In these intergenerational stories of luck and loss, mother and son, Thai and tourist, healthy and sick are bound together. Sightseeing introduces its readers to the young boy and his brother speeding on a moped to the Cafe Lovely, a brothel in Bankok; Priscilla the Cambodian, a girl whose mouth is stuffed with the family fortune; a woman approaching blindness who barters for a last pair of sunglasses; and a pig called Clint Eastwood. Sightseeing reveals, slowly and powerfully that no place is too far away from home when it comes to pain, anger, love or hurt. It explores through confident and unforgettable storytelling what it means to be a son, a brother, a parent, a lover, a Thai - and a disenfranchised resident of the global village.
What Is Missing Book Summary : "A wise and necessary book, one I’ve been recommending ardently to everyone I know. " —Julie Orringer, author of The Flight Portfolio Suspenseful and gripping, award-winning author Michael Frank’s What is Missing is a psychological family drama about a father, a son, and the woman they both love. Costanza Ansaldo, a half-Italian and half-American translator, is convinced that she has made peace with her childlessness. A year after the death of her husband, an eminent writer, she returns to the pensione in Florence where she spent many happy times in her youth, and there she meets, first, Andrew Weissman, an acutely sensitive seventeen-year-old, and, soon afterward, his father, Henry Weissman, a charismatic New York physician who specializes in—as it happens—reproductive medicine. With three lives each marked by heartbreak and absence—of a child, a parent, a partner, or a clear sense of identity—What is Missing offers Costanza, Andrew, and Henry the opportunity to make themselves whole when the triangle resumes three months later in New York, where the relationships among them turn and tighten with combustive effects that cut to the core of what it means to be a father, a son, and—for Costanza—a potential mother.
The Chaperone Book Summary : Soon to be a feature film from the creators of Downton Abbey starring Elizabeth McGovern, The Chaperone is a New York Times-bestselling novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in the 1920s and the summer that would change them both. Only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star and an icon of her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip, has no idea what she’s in for. Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob with blunt bangs, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will transform their lives forever. For Cora, the city holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the core of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in this strange and bustling place she embarks on a mission of her own. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, she is liberated in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of Cora’s relationship with Louise, her eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive. Drawing on the rich history of the 1920s, ’30s, and beyond—from the orphan trains to Prohibition, flappers, and the onset of the Great Depression to the burgeoning movement for equal rights and new opportunities for women—Laura Moriarty’s The Chaperone illustrates how rapidly everything, from fashion and hemlines to values and attitudes, was changing at this time and what a vast difference it all made for Louise Brooks, Cora Carlisle, and others like them.
We the Survivors Book Summary : A murderer's confession--devastating, unblinking, poignant, unforgettable--which reveals a story of class, education, and the inescapable workings of destiny. Ah Hock is an ordinary, uneducated man born in a Malaysian fishing village and now trying to make his way in a country that promises riches and security to everyone, but delivers them only to a chosen few. With Asian society changing around him, like many he remains trapped in a world of poorly paid jobs that just about allow him to keep his head above water but ultimately lead him to murder a migrant worker from Bangladesh. The question of why leads a young, privileged journalist to Ah Hock's door. While the victim has been mourned and the killer has served time for the crime, Ah Hock's motive remains unclear, even to himself. His vivid confession unfurls over extensive interviews with the journalist, herself a local whose life has taken a very different course. The process forces both the speaker and his listener to reckon with systems of power, race, and class in a place where success is promised to all yet delivered only to its lucky heirs. An uncompromising portrait of an outsider navigating a society in transition, Tash Aw's anti-nostalgic tale, We, The Survivors, holds its tension to the very end. In the wake of loss and destruction, hope is among the survivors.
Saint X Book Summary : "'Saint X' is hypnotic. Schaitkin's characters...are so intelligent and distinctive it feels not just easy, but necessary, to follow them. I devoured [it] in a day." –Oyinkan Braithwaite, New York Times Book Review When you lose the person who is most essential to you, who do you become? Recommended by Entertainment Weekly, included in Good Morning America's 20 Books We're Excited for in 2020 & named as one of Vogue's Best Books to Read This Winter, Bustle's Most Anticipated Books of February 2020, and O Magazine's 14 of the Best Books to Read This February! Hailed as a “marvel of a book” and “brilliant and unflinching,” Alexis Schaitkin’s stunning debut, Saint X, is a haunting portrait of grief, obsession, and the bond between two sisters never truly given the chance to know one another. Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men–employees at the resort–are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives. Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth–not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation. As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy. For readers of Emma Cline’s The Girls and Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, Saint X is a flawlessly drawn and deeply moving story that culminates in an emotionally powerful ending.
The City State of Boston Book Summary : A groundbreaking history of early America that shows how Boston built and sustained an independent city-state in New England before being folded into the United States In the vaunted annals of America’s founding, Boston has long been held up as an exemplary “city upon a hill” and the “cradle of liberty” for an independent United States. Wresting this revered metropolis from these misleading, tired clichés, The City-State of Boston highlights Boston’s overlooked past as an autonomous city-state, and in doing so, offers a pathbreaking and brilliant new history of early America. Following Boston’s development over three centuries, Mark Peterson discusses how this self-governing Atlantic trading center began as a refuge from Britain’s Stuart monarchs and how—through its bargain with the slave trade and ratification of the Constitution—it would tragically lose integrity and autonomy as it became incorporated into the greater United States. The City-State of Boston peels away layers of myth to offer a startlingly fresh understanding of this iconic urban center.
The Star Side of Bird Hill Book Summary : Two sisters are suddenly sent from their home in Brooklyn to Barbados to live with their grandmother, in this stunning debut novel This lyrical novel of community, betrayal, and love centers on an unforgettable matriarchal family in Barbados. Two sisters, ages ten and sixteen, are exiled from Brooklyn to Bird Hill in Barbados after their mother can no longer care for them. The young Phaedra and her older sister, Dionne, live for the summer of 1989 with their grandmother Hyacinth, a midwife and practitioner of the local spiritual practice of obeah. Dionne spends the summer in search of love, testing her grandmother’s limits, and wanting to go home. Phaedra explores Bird Hill, where her family has lived for generations, accompanies her grandmother in her role as a midwife, and investigates their mother’s mysterious life. This tautly paced coming-of-age story builds to a crisis when the father they barely know comes to Bird Hill to reclaim his daughters, and both Phaedra and Dionne must choose between the Brooklyn they once knew and loved or the Barbados of their family. Jackson’s Barbados and her characters are singular, especially the wise Hyacinth and the heartbreaking young Phaedra, who is coming into her own as a young woman amid the tumult of her family. Praise for The Star Side of Bird Hill “Jackson has written a first novel full of heart and heartbreak, a novel about going home, about the ties that bind three generations of women across years and despite absence. It is a bittersweet lesson in learning to recognize love.” —Ayana Mathis, author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection) “Naomi Jackson has written a tender novel exploring the complexities of motherhood and childhood. The Star Side of Bird Hill holds together opposing elements—the book is quiet in the telling, but the story being told is sharp and vibrant. It is as much a story of the fears of childhood as it is a story about welcoming old age with optimism. A book that knows death and discovery. A book laced with pain but shimmering with hope. With care, the narrative addresses huge issues, such as mental illness, mortality, sexuality, and, at its very core, what it means to love another person as they are.” —Tiphanie Yanique, author of Land of Love and Drowning