Wednesday 11 December 2013

Curtain of Rain / Tew Bunnag

The Asia Literary Agency has sold World English and Italian language rights to Curtain of Rain, a soulful, intricately linked series of stories set in Thailand and London, by Thai author Tew Bunnag. World English rights were bought by Narisa Chakrabongse at River Books. Italian language rights were bought by Andrea Berrini at Metropoli d'Asia.

Bunnag comes from a prominent Thai family, graduated from Oxford with a degree in Chinese and Economics, works to ameliorate conditions in the Bangkok slums, and divides his time between Thailand and Spain. He is a Buddhist, and a t’ai chi and meditation master, who counsels families with terminally ill children. Bunnag enjoyed publishing success with his previous works, including Time of the Lotus, a bestseller in Spain, and After the Wave, a collection of short stories to commemorate the Boxing Day tsunami. 

Geographically, Curtain of Rain takes readers from Bangkok to London, via the Vietnam War; it moves in time from the troubled past to the uneasy present.  It is told from the perspective of two characters whose lives and fates become entangled after a chance encounter during the Vietnam War. Bunnag evokes place brilliantly, especially Bangkok and the Thai countryside. His explorations of the tension between history and the present, and of the unreliability of memory, allow him to introduce issues of politics, power and greed, without losing sight of his characters’ searches for meaning, and redemption. 

Kelly Falconer, founder of the Asia Literary Agency, said: “This timely account of contemporary Thailand, a country still struggling to come to terms with an unstable past, is evocatively told by Tew Bunnag. The feeling of being an insider and simultaneously an outsider, caught between the past and the present, permeates this book, which is international in setting and in appeal.”

Bangkok-based River Books was founded 20 years ago with the aim of publishing high quality, illustrated books on the art, archaeology, history, and culture of mainland Southeast Asia. Their guidebooks to the ancient cities of the region are perennially popular, although Ancient Angkor has the dubious distinction of being the most widely available pirated guidebook at Angkor Wat. Recently River Books has started publishing cookery titles and novels. Narisa Chakrabongse said: “River Books are very excited to be publishing the English edition of Curtain of Rain by Tew Bunnag.

Metropoli d'Asia is an Italian publishing house owned and run by Andrea Berrini, a writer himself, who spends most of his time in India, China, Singapore and the rest of the South East Asian countries, directly scouting for emerging writers.

Curtain of Rain should be available in English and Italian next year.