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Publisher's Summary

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, Plain Ruth Swain is in search of her father. To find him 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 her father, Virgil - via pole-vaulting, leaping salmon, poetry and the 3,958 books piled high beneath the two skylights in her room.
©2014 Niall Williams (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"Extremely moving, poignantly capturing Ruth's doomed childhood relationship with her twin brother. By the final chapter I was weeping." ( Sunday Times)
"A rambling, soft-hearted Irish family saga stuffed with eccentricity, literature, anecdotes, mythology, humour and heartbreak." ( Kirkus)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Kindle Customer on 05-30-17

The language is astoundingly beautiful.

I can not remember having read/ listened to a more beautifully written book. The use of language is astounding. There is not one false note. It is poetry, at its very best. It is for people who love words. The characters are brilliantly fleshed out through both action and description. If you are looking for a fast read or a plot driven story this book is not for you. If you want to savor and bask in lyrical storytelling I heartily recommend this book. It is joyful and sad. It is about story itself. It is brilliant. The narration is excellent.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 12-19-15

Evocative, well read, totally engrossing.

I struggled to start The History of the Rain and decided to set it down. A few months later I came back to it. I am so glad I gave it a second chance. I found myself fully immersed. The writing is pitch perfect, coupled with an equally edept reader. I will come back to this book again, for its frank, funny, tragic, tale. Superb storytelling.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Maggie on 10-26-14

History of the Rain

Where does History of the Rain rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I enjoyed this book very much. It went at a good pace, was well read, and the story was engaging.

What did you like best about this story?

The laconic humour which balanced what could have been written as a very sad humour, and yet there was love and light in it all the way through.

Have you listened to any of Jennifer McGrath’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, haven't heard any other.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Nettlewine on 10-13-14

Huge achievement, perfect prose for audio

What did you like most about History of the Rain?

The sheer scale of the achievement in conjuring the environment and characters from the books in the library surrounding Ruth.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ruth, who was a complex and well-developed character, sensitive and indulgent, but hard as nails in many respects.

What does Jennifer McGrath bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

She seems to have a core understanding of Ruth's attitudes, and brings out the strength of her character very well. A lot of the lyrical prose is delivered in a matter-of-fact way, rather than with too much deference, which I think really helps the story along.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No; it was a joy to bask in the qualities of the prose over an extended period.

Any additional comments?

A really rewarding listen, but it's interesting that there isn't a great deal of drive to the present-day plot, which makes the whole experience somewhat diffuse and meandering. That, however, might be seen as a positive. Occasionally the narrator's differentiation between characters was a little absent, and I do wonder whether the potentially terminally ill Ruth was a bit energetic, but this was an epic task to take on, and may have dragged horribly if there'd been a more weary approach.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By David on 05-26-15

Washed with a beautiful story

Gentle, strong, humorous, insightful, this was a pleasure to hear/ read! The honesty within the character and the clever plot made common sense and opened the chance for insight into love, life, faith, family and of course.... Death.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By K. S. Lane on 04-05-18

Magical.

A beautifully poetic work. Wonderful literary and Irish references. Funny and sad and beautiful. LOVED it.

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