History of the Rain: Book summary and reviews of History of the Rain by Niall Williams

History of the Rain

by Niall Williams

History of the Rain by Niall Williams X
History of the Rain by Niall Williams
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  • Published in USA  May 2014
    368 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

We are our stories. We tell them to stay alive or keep alive those who only live now in the telling. That's how it seems to me, being alive for a little while, the teller and the told.

So says Ruthie Swain. The bedridden daughter of a dead poet, home from college after a collapse (Something Amiss, the doctors say), she is trying to find her father through stories - and through generations of family history in County Clare (the Swains have the written stories, from salmon-fishing journals to poems, and the maternal MacCarrolls have the oral) and through her own writing (with its Superabundance of Style). Ruthie turns also to the books her father left behind, his library transposed to her bedroom and stacked on the floor, which she pledges to work her way through while she's still living.

In her attic room, with the rain rushing down the windows, Ruthie writes Ireland, with its weather, its rivers, its lilts, and its lows. The stories she uncovers and recounts bring back to life multiple generations buried in this soil - and they might just bring her back into the world again, too.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. You can smell the peat burning and feel the ever-present mist in acclaimed Irish novelist Williams' luscious paean to all who lose themselves in books. Williams captures the awe and all of Ireland - its myths and mysteries, miseries and magic - through the pitch-perfect voice of a saucily defiant young woman who has witnessed too much tragedy but who clings devotedly to those she's lost." - Booklist

"Starred Review. Destined to be a classic, Williams's seventh novel (after Boy and Man) isn't just the elegy Ruthie offers to the departed but also a love letter to reading and its life-giving powers. The author's voice and narrative remain utterly unique even as she invites comparisons to Jim Hawkins, Ishmael, and hosts of legendary literary narrators." - Library Journal

"[T]though the novel doesn't have a strong resolution, Williams makes so many good stylistic and storytelling choices that his latest is well worth the read." - Publishers Weekly

This information about History of the Rain shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Niall Williams Author Biography

Niall Williams was born in Dublin in 1958. He studied English and French literature at University College Dublin before graduating with a Master's degree in Modern American Literature. He moved to New York in 1980 where he married Christine Breen, whom he had met while she was a Master's student also at UCD, and took his first job opening boxes of books in Fox and Sutherland's bookshop in Mount Kisco. He later worked as a copywriter for Avon Books in New York City before leaving America with Chris in 1985 to attempt to make a life as a writer.

Niall and Christine moved on April 1st to the cottage in west Clare that Chris's grandfather had left eighty years before to find his life in America. In 1991 Niall's first play 'The Murphy Initiative' was staged at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin. ...

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