earlier this year, I read History of the Rain by Niall Williams. It whispered to me from the shelves of Barnes & Noble (a place I guiltily and frequently haunt), with its cover of dark sea-tones and its aesthetic of cozy introverted bliss.
obviously, I have fully embraced the practice of judging books by their covers, and I don’t apologize.
but this is all beside the point. it’s a wonderful book. I knew instantly it would be one of my favorites of the year. I think about it all the time, guys. all the time.
this is a slow, gentle narrative that deals with heavy, sometimes epic themes in a quiet, introverted way, so that it’s all extremely pleasurable to read, even when it’s heartbreaking. does this make sense? I don’t know. BELIEVE IT.
reading it was like falling into a world of cozy houses, rain-sodden hills, villages and attics, a great twisting river, and the scent of books.
this is a story about Ireland. a story about people. a story about sorrow and the feeling of never being good enough. a story about stories. a story about BOOKS. a story about the love in a family. a story of a young woman searching for her father and herself.
I cried. and I was so thrilled to be crying. I can’t remember the last time a book did this to me. praise the Lord.
for me, the most important thing in any novel, more than the plot, the characters, etc., is the writing. now, I want to make an important distinction here: there is a difference between “good writing” and writing that I enjoy. when I read novels for pleasure, I look for the latter. I don’t want to tell you that the writing was “good”, because there are so many kinds of good writing. I will say instead that this book was chock-full of the kind of writing I love.
I can’t even describe it. it’s narrated first-person, but it’s so lyrical and playful in the language. somehow it was both lyrical and simple. it was absolutely addictive, and the way the words were so beautifully strung together made the stories within the story so delightful to read. if this kind of writing seems appealing to you, you will adore this book.
so: if you’re into themes of Ireland, water, family and family history, sorrow met with humor, and if you are into books that celebrate stories, please go now and read History of the Rain.
I’ve since bought another book by Niall Williams, which I’m very excited to eventually read (in ten years, after I get through a few zillion of the endless armies of books I own), and I fear I shall be loyal to him forever now.
ah, the perils of books…
happy reading, friends~~
Here you may find History of the Rain on Amazon.
GO GET IT.