Coverart for item
The Resource History of the rain, Niall Williams

History of the rain, Niall Williams

Label
History of the rain
Title
History of the rain
Statement of responsibility
Niall Williams
Creator
Subject
Language
eng
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • Playwright, novelist, and nonfiction writer Williams’s (Four Letters of Love ) new novel has a unique voice and a droll, comic tone that takes a surprising, serious turn. Ruthie Swain collapsed at college (“I have had Something Amiss, Something Puzzling, and We’re Not Sure Yet”), and is now confined to her bed at home in Ireland. Her father was a poet who left her an enormous quantity of books when he died, and she tries to find her way back to him through those books. Ruthie has a self-deprecating view of herself and the world, as well as a wry sense of humor. She uses literature to orient herself, searching for and creating connections in theory, while keeping the world around her, and the adoring Vincent Cunningham, at arm’s length. The novel’s “big secret” is obvious early on, and, therefore, the reveal is more of a relief than a surprise. One never buys that Ruthie is really sick—it comes across more as a Victorian lady’s psychosomatic problem than actual illness, even when the doctors sigh and shake their heads over blood work and send her to Dublin for treatment. The energy, tone, and premise of the book work well; the decision to view Ruthie’s experiences through the lens of literature pays off. And 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. (May) --Staff (Reviewed March 3, 2014) (Publishers Weekly, vol 261, issue 09, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ In the tiny Irish village of Faha, college student Ruthie Swain lies in bed, immobilized by a mysterious illness and surrounded by her deceased father's books. She vows to read each one as she writes her family's story. Recollections of the people she has lost and their memories of people she's never known mingle with the adventures and ideas she retains from her reading. Ruthie reads and composes to remember and to tell the tales, particularly of her father, Virgil, and her nearly magical twin brother, Aengus. Their absence seems almost to pull Ruthie out of existence. But by summoning their tragic yet beautiful lives from memory, Ruthie reenters the realm of the living. VERDICT 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.— John G. Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman --John G. Matthews (Reviewed April 1, 2014) (Library Journal, vol 139, issue 6, p85)
  • A rambling, soft-hearted Irish family saga stuffed with eccentricity, literature, anecdotes, mythology, humor and heartbreak, from the author of Four Letters of Love (1997). "There's nothing direct about us," says bedridden 19-year-old narrator Ruth Swain, speaking of the Irish, and the same is true of Williams' (John, 2008, etc.) convoluted, comically discursive latest, a shaggy dog story of a novel narrated in what Ruth calls The Meander style. (Ruth has a thing for Capital Letters.) A Smart Girl and briefly a student at Trinity College Dublin but now ill and confined to her room while rain constantly drizzles across the skylight, Ruth explains how the Swain family holds to the Philosophy of Impossible Standard: "No matter how hard you try you can't ever be good enough." Tracing this belief back through generations, she enumerates the caricaturish figures of her lineage in vaguely chronological order and with Dickensian flourishes. Tributes and references to books and writers crop up constantly. Voracious reader Ruth has inherited her father Virgil's library of 3,958 books and intends to read them all. Virgil was a poet, and his father wrote books about salmon fishing, extracts from which appear in the text. In among the family history, descriptions of the local community (Faha in County Clare) and detours, there's the thread of Ruth's golden twin brother, Aeney, whose unsurprising fate is central to Virgil losing his struggle with the Impossible Standard and to the cycle of water and writing, faith and hope with which the book concludes. Williams returns to home turf with a long, sentimental, affectionate poem to Irishness generally—"the best saints and the best poets and the best musicians and the world's worst bankers"—and one quirky family in particular that insists on being read at its own erratic pace.(Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2014)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10307691
Cataloging source
YDXCP
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1958-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Williams, Niall
Index
no index present
Literary form
non fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Fathers and daughters
  • Books and reading
  • Sick persons
  • Family relationships
  • Authors
  • Convalescence
  • Young women
  • Loss (Psychology)
  • Ireland
Label
History of the rain, Niall Williams
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1013747
Dimensions
cm
Extent
pages
Isbn
9781620406472
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781620406472
  • (OCoLC)860395898
Label
History of the rain, Niall Williams
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1013747
Dimensions
cm
Extent
pages
Isbn
9781620406472
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781620406472
  • (OCoLC)860395898

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
    • Howson BranchBorrow it
      2500 Exposition Blvd., Austin, TX, 78703, US
      30.2982508 -97.7675915
    • Spicewood Springs BranchBorrow it
      8637 Spicewood Springs Rd., Austin, TX, 78759, US
      30.4337083 -97.7730809
    • Yarborough BranchBorrow it
      2200 Hancock Dr., Austin, TX, 78756, US
      30.3234684 -97.74072129999999
Processing Feedback ...