History of the Rain : Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014, Paperback Book

History of the Rain : Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014 Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


We are our stories. We tell them to stay alive or keep alive those who only live now in the telling.

In Faha, County Clare, everyone is a long story...Bedbound in her attic room beneath the falling rain, in the margin between this world and the next, Plain Ruth Swain is in search of her father.

To find him, enfolded in the mystery of ancestors, Ruthie must first trace the jutting jaw lines, narrow faces and gleamy skin of the Swains from the restless Reverend Swain, her great-grandfather, to grandfather Abraham, to her father, Virgil - via pole-vaulting, leaping salmon, poetry and the three thousand, nine hundred and fifty eight books piled high beneath the two skylights in her room, beneath the rain.

The stories - of her golden twin brother Aeney, their closeness even as he slips away; of their dogged pursuit of the Swains' Impossible Standard and forever falling just short; of the wild, rain-sodden history of fourteen acres of the worst farming land in Ireland - pour forth in Ruthie's still, small, strong, hopeful voice.

A celebration of books, love and the healing power of the imagination, this is an exquisite, funny, moving novel in which every sentence sings.


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This is a luminously poetic, insightful, poignant and often funny book about the power of literature to transcend the difficulties and tragedies of ordinary life. The young narrator is bedbound and probably dying, and the story explores her attempts to understand her father, a largely failing poet with a rather tenuous relationship with reality, through the extensive library he left her. This also allows Williams to explore his own reading, and the artistic processes involved in writing. I feel I have been unjustly ignoring Williams since reading his first two novels some years ago

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