Hi Guys, after the popularity of last weeks review I decided to write another for this week, this time involving a story much more within m genre. I don’t often rave about books, but I might have to make an exception for this one, because it had me entranced in a way that only my favourite authors have managed so far. This is A Year Since the Rain by Shane Wilson and I would heartily recommend reading it.
A Year Since the Rain tells the story of Alan, a young man in a town that begins to experience a drought on the same day that his girlfriend leaves him behind. The plot focuses on him as he struggles to cope with his grief at the loss of her, and how a kindly neighbour, who he assumes to be a witch, tries to help him come to terms with this loss. The backdrop to all of this is the drought, and details how a drought would affect this town, and how it is linked to the pain in Alan’s heart.
This book has a unique storytelling method as the point of view character narrates the story to the girlfriend who left him, and kick-started the drought over the town. This method took a little getting used to, but works incredibly well for the type of story the author is trying to tell, and easily reflects the scattered narration of the main character who is trying to tell a whole story with a deadline looming over his head. The reason for his haste is a sink-hole that is expanding rapidly to swallow the town, and he struggles with his issues against leaving until he has overcome all of the obstacles that are keeping him tied to a doomed town.
This story manages to interweave several different plots, and does it with incredible skill, making sure that each new piece of information is uncovered at just the right time, and that each thread in the plot is tied up neatly at the correct moment in the story. As an author I was genuinely impressed with this achievement, and as a reader I found that the plot pulled me along with a sense of underlying urgency that was always present, but never felt like the story was being rushed towards the finale, and as a result I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
When discussing this book with friends, the one comparison I found that felt apt, both in terms of skill and technique, was Under the Dome by Stephen King. Although his book isn’t nearly as bleak as it’s comparator, the sense of growing inevitability pulling me through the book was the same and a sign of considerable skill on behalf of both authors.
The mysticism in this book is incredibly light – so light that you could almost believe it wasn’t there. However, instead of being a negative, this works perfectly with both the setting and the tone of the book. The mysticism mostly comes in the form of dreams which contain a combination of metaphors and his mysterious neighbour across the street. The dreams are consistent throughout the book, but rather than feeling contrived and overdone, they work perfectly with the overarching narrative of the story and link all the separate plot threads together.
To conclude I would list this book among my favourite reads, which is not a position that is easy to earn, but completely deserved for this title. By the time you get to the end you will have found a satisfying ending to an engrossing story that comes at just the right moment in time.