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4.4 out of 5 stars117
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 3 May 2015
Brilliant,
Somewhat perplexed by some of the reviews complaining of lack of story line and others on how depressing it is.Concerns on the lack of plot are irrelevant, it is not in my opinion about plot. It is about glorious use of the English language writ down on pages that in turn amuse , sadden, uplift, throw down. You find yourself reading pages twice such is the brilliance of the turn of phrase and profoundness within them.Yes it is a very sad ending ,and I am not ashamed to say I sobbed, and yet it was oddly positive as well. I read a lot of books and this has leapt into my top 5 ever. If I could give it 6 stars I would! Highly recommend.
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on 11 September 2014
Ruth lies in a bed dying, presumably of a neurodegenerative disease, describing the lives of her family and forefathers in literary reference. Hers is the search for the soul of her father, a compulsive reader and book collector. She believes that she will find him in the 3500 books that are stacked up in her bedroom.
"History of the Rain" is an extraordinary book - a winding narrative that describes the weather and economic woes of the West of Ireland, the history of the anglo-irish and the nature and nurture of an impoverished modern Irish family. It is a very Irish book, one that avoids all of the traditional stereotypes but aptly describes the decimation of rural communities following the 2007 "bust". Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. Strangely, throughout the early part of the book the narrator hints at what will/has happened - but just tantalisingly so - enough to grip you into the story - you need to know - must know - how the story resolves. Is this a tragedy? Is it a love story? Is it a roadmap to the nearest library - a love note to literature? It is all of the above. Highly recommended.
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on 10 November 2015
Niall Williams has a truly magical way with words. I have fallen under his spell before. This book is a joy,I found myself rereading whole chapters.
It was a book that I wanted to stay in forever.
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on 10 February 2015
My first venture into Niall Williams territory and I found it absolutely beautiful - one of the best written books I have read in a very long time.
As others have pointed out, there isn't much of a plot, not in the conventional sense, but that didn't bother me at all - it is a story of family and village life and love and hope and tragedy and persistence and the importance of stories.
As the protagonist says, her story meanders like the river, and that's what in the end life is all about.
I found myself laughing out loud at the sometimes cheeky observations of a certain Irishness and crying bitter tears about some of the incredibly insightful little side stories, and I felt transported to Faha, and Ruth's bedroom, and could practically the incessant rain against my windows (mind, that might be because I live in a rather rainy corner of England myself :))
One of those rare books that will stay with me for a long time and that I will probably reread time and time again.
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on 12 December 2015
I have long been a huge fan of Niall Williams since I first read Four Letters of Love and this book certainly did not disappoint! There are passages of writing that I can only describe as breathtaking, it's such a beautifully written book. I think it does take some time to really 'get into' but oh my gosh it delivers so much the further the story goes...! I finished it today and was in bits by the end...in a beautiful way though. Well done Mister Williams!
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on 10 October 2014
A lovingly written book; Naill Williams has taken a simple story and crafted a literary work of art A book to savour and enjoy. I was completely absorbed and convinced by the narrator's voice- a bookish, gravely ill young woman who beguilingly leads you through a kind of odyssy of the highs and lows of her family history and I loved every step. Congratulations to Niall Williams who may may have achieved his own "impossible standard".
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on 4 June 2014
This is a well written book with well drawn characters to whom tragedies happen one after another, some self inflicted, some random accidents. None seems to have the capacity to break the circle.

And yet the humour and unusual focus of the narrator - who is in bed with what may be an incurable, terminal illness - provides a lightness as well as a spring to keep the story going to the end.

I can hardly say an enjoyable read, but yes I remember it with affection and recommend it.
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on 14 March 2016
I'm not sure I can find words to do the book justice. I loved the characters, their stories, the softness and madness and terrible beauty of Ireland. For me it reached the Impossible Standard.
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on 7 January 2016
I loved this book. It was funny and moving and quintessentially Irish. The people, places and life of small town Ireland are so well captured. Since so much of this book is about a love for books I felt a bit of a fraud reading it on my kindle, but it did inspire me to read Great Expectations and Moby Dick! I will definitely be reading more from this author as his writing is so beautiful and vivid.
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on 21 October 2014
A masterpiece of human understanding and emotional scope. Mr Williams is a truly 'gifted' writer and one who's work I have read before and felt the same pleasure in encountering his extrodinary ability to invoke varied emotions from everyday situations. The conclusion to this wonderfull book reduced me to tears, I am a 74 year old Grandfather and happy to disclose that.
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