The History of Rain
by Stephens Gerard Malone
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 30 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 23 Sep 2021
Nimbus Publishing, Vagrant Press
Our story begins in 1915. While convalescing in a French army hospital, Rain, a veteran of the Great War now raging across Europe, finds solace in aiding the buildings' groundskeeper. An unlikely apprentice gardener, he buries himself in this work. The bulbs, the tubers, and the soil care not that his face is now deformed forever. "I say give the earth your rage, young man, and she'll give you flowers", the groundskeeper tells him. And so he does.
In the ensuing decadence of the postwar years, Rain finds himself lured into the intricate and lavish world of landscape gardening. In demand to a certain upper-class clientele, he travels the world to create magnificent gardens for celebrities and, eventually for the pictures during Hollywood's Golden Age. But the nomadic nature of his work is also a way for him to chase his unrequitred love, Lily.
A sprawling story written in stunning, spare language, this anticipated new novel from the master wordsmith behind Big Town and I Still Have a Suitcase in Berlin is a lyrical, magical, and starkly realist meditation on the dissonant worlds that emerge from the conflict, and the lengths we'll go to chase the illusion of love.
“This is what it means to care. A story of trauma and order, chaos and beauty, reality and fantasy, The History of Rain constructs a path from the trenches of WWI to the film sets and opulent estates of Golden Age Hollywood. Along the way, the story grapples with massive forces: nature and time, love and longing, public and private space. Malone, like his character, is a master of cultivation, and this book, like the gardens it imagines, is a wonder of patience and intricate attention. Wander through and try to take it all in. Everywhere you look, there is more than you expect.”
–Alexander MacLeod, Giller Prize–shortlisted author of Light Lifting
“Transporting and profound, The History of Rain is a haunting tale of love, hope, truth, and beauty lost and found in unexpected places. This captivating novel had me turning pages late into the night.”
–Ami McKay, bestselling author of The Birth House
“Reader, let this beautifully crafted story transport you on a quest for love and belonging through war-ravaged Europe, the razzle dazzle of Old Hollywood, and the enchantment of grand landscape gardens. Evocative of both D. H. Lawrence and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stephens Gerad Malone has created a sumptuous story of unrelenting tension, passion, and heartbreak.”
–Christy Ann Conlin, author ofThe Speed of Mercy and Watermark
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 3 members
Thank you for Nimbus Publishing and Vagrant Press for this arc in exchange for a free and honest review! I really enjoyed reading The History of Rain! I love and really enjoy reading historical fiction and The History of Rain is no exception. The premise, plot and language are all exceptional foundations for an amazing story and Stephens Gerard Malone has written an excellent book that I hope flies into the hands of multiple readers.