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History of the Rain: Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014 [Format Kindle]

Niall Williams

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Présentation de l'éditeur

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, in the margin between this world and the next, Plain Ruth Swain is in search of her father. To find him, enfolded in the mystery of ancestors, 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 grandfather Abraham, to her father, Virgil †“ via pole-vaulting, leaping salmon, poetry and the three thousand, nine hundred and fifty eight books piled high beneath the two skylights in her room, beneath the rain.

The stories †“ of her golden twin brother Aeney, their closeness even as he slips away; of their dogged pursuit of the Swains' Impossible Standard and forever falling just short; of the wild, rain-sodden history of fourteen acres of the worst farming land in Ireland †“ pour forth in Ruthie's still, small, strong, hopeful voice. A celebration of books, love and the healing power of the imagination, this is an exquisite, funny, moving novel in which every sentence sings.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1512 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 369 pages
  • Editeur : Bloomsbury Publishing; Édition : 1 (10 avril 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00J7RD49G
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°11.945 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  234 commentaires
35 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Profoundly moving 27 août 2014
Par Sascot - Publié sur Amazon.com
One could finish this book feeling cheated by the narrator, Ruth, who never tells us precisely what illness she suffers from but one doesn't. This novel ebbs and flows like the mighty River Shannon that plays such an integral part to the story of the Swain family over three generations, most especially for Ruth's father, Virgil. All too often when one has a narrator a story has no momentum.In the History of the Rain, the author never allows Ruth's story to flag.

This is a deeply moving book that shows us what it is to be ourselves. There are moments of terrible sadness here when death strikes because the reader is made aware of the love that everyone has for each other that makes these events profoundly moving using an extraordinary economy of words.Ruth makes you feel part of this family and the wider community as she views the world from the restricted confines of her room in the attic through the pages of the massive quantity of books that threaten her very safety. You dare not skip a sentence, for if you do you might miss a sharp comment or observation that will have you in stitches; that Irish humour that enables them not to take life too seriously, which Ruth has in abundance. The glue that bonds the entire story together is literature, and more importantly, poetry but do not allow the amazing references that the author provides to distract you from what is ultimately a deeply emotional tale of one family, whose refusal to conform to the ordinary provides us with characters in this book, with not a mean one amongst them, for whom one generates an enormous affection.This is possibly my most enjoyable read of the year.
70 internautes sur 75 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A New Favorite 21 août 2014
Par Katherine Mackenzie - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
"There's a book inside you. There's a library inside me."

I woke up thinking about this novel, and I almost regret dedicating my morning to finishing it. But sometimes a story begs to be devoured.

Sometimes, you can tell an author is a devout reader through their writing. Niall Williams clearly is one of these types, based on History of the Rain. So, of course, I love him the more for it. This is a story of family, history, love, tragedy, Ireland, and books. And it's probably my favorite Man Booker 2014 longlisted novel so far.

Ruth lives in her room due to a vague illness and a fear of the outdoors. She's inherited her father's extensive library, where she attempts to find him, one book at a time. Throughout the story, books are dropped like rain, and I was personally reminded of how many I need to experience. Though I'm very familiar with one of the most important writers frequently mentioned: Yeats. For how could you not include him in an Irish novel about writing and poetry? So, he's there. History of the Rain will surely strike a chord in people who appreciate not just the story inside the books, but the history and physicality of them as well. I'm firmly in the camp of books being a necessary part of my home's ecosystem. But as I've gotten older I've come to relish certain stories not just for the meaning of their content but for the fact that they were purchased and read by my father. A few he's given to me, and reading them is something personally spectacular. Though I'm not searching for my father in the way Ruth must, I find through his books how he came to be who he is now, before I ever existed. A moment like this I could particularly see in my own father (and perhaps a quality in myself):
"The library that grew in our house contained all my father's idiosyncrasies, contained the man he was at thirty-five, and at forty, at forty-five. He did not edit himself. He did not look back at the books of ten years ago and pluck out the ones whose taste was no longer his."
I can relate to this as my Father's only daughter (and child), and the importance it's had on my own life. Williams writes of a father/daughter relationship not often seen in literature, though these are generally portrayed much less than father/son relationships in the first place.

Niall Williams writes with beautiful clarity and apparent ease. Hardly a chapter or page went by without a pause to take note of something profound. The imagery evoked in this sleepy community celebrates the Irish qualities that only such an account as this can excite. I wanted to fly to Ireland immediately while reading, but perhaps I should explore my own history first.

If themes like this are of any interest, I encourage a thorough reading of this chronicle of one family. Though you don't need to be a Swain, or Irish for that matter, you may find pieces of your own history in this account, like I did.

Highly recommended.
43 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A TIMELESS MASTERPIECE 2 août 2014
Par Joan Elaine Hitchie - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I would give this book a hundred stars if I could. It is a classic about Ruth,a young Irish girl, struggling to find her way through despair and illness. The author takes the reader into the heart of her family. The characters have sharp powers of observation, flights of fancy, the love of talk, and great wit with a trace of sorrow, traits, it is maintained that the Irish have in abundance. I often forget the storyline and characters shortly after I have read a book. That will never happen with History of the Rain.
35 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A Novel for Those Prepared to Dig Deeper 23 octobre 2014
Par darklittlelady - Publié sur Amazon.com
History of the Rain is set in a small town in contemporary Ireland. It is very hard to think of the setting as contemporary because the story could as well be set in the early 20th century. The town is a very small rural town and Niall Williams’ writing gives it a vintage touch. It’s quite shocking when suddenly a modern car winds its way up the road.

Our main character is Ruth Swain, who tells us about her ancestors’ lives. She is a young, intelligent woman bedbound in her family’s home. Ruth tells us a lot about her father Virgil, a great thinker born into a world of doers. Virgil turns out to be a very intense character in the second half of the book. He loves writing so much that he starts to forget everything around him.

History of the Rain has two stories to tell. While Ruth recounts the lives of her ancestors, we observe how Ruth leads her own life. These two plotlines are interwoven and alternate just like two fish taking turns jumping out of the water. The novel is beautifully written and some passages are amazing and create very strong feelings. On the whole, however, History of the Rain very often drags on. I was wondering about this, because the story isn’t boring. I think it was the writing (some very long sentences in there) that made the book tedious to read, at least for me. Nevertheless, History of the Rain is a book that you will enjoy if you’re looking for a novel you can analyze (and reread), because I think there is more to it than I had time to discover.
24 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Rainbow 30 juillet 2014
Par Helen - Publié sur Amazon.com
I didn't really enjoy this book when I started it. The main character, Ruth, was okay but a bit annoying. I found the flipping back and forward through time irritating and the prose somewhat stilted. It seemed clear where the plot was going and I wasn't even sure I'd finish it.

But it began to creep up on me bit by bit. Perhaps it was when Ruth told of her parents' love affair. Maybe it was earlier and she reveals the close bonds she has with her twin, Aeney. Regardless, by the end I was furiously highlighting passages to go back and treasure later, and reading through a veil of tears. History of the Rain is a beautiful tale of the trials and joys of life. Not necessarily a dramatic life, although some may well think it so, but a life that anyone might live. It's told with a poet's heart and a poet's soul, weaving in Irish culture and history, and literature from all over. Set in the small Irish town of Faha, Williams brings the countryside and its inhabitants to life in a way that is neither twee nor patronising nor melancholic.

Best of all, I think I may just spend tomorrow afternoon reading Yeats out loud to myself as a result. Thank you, Mr. Williams, you may just have set an Impossible Standard for others to follow.
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