Tuesday 26 March 2024

The Book of Rain by Thomas

When most people are surfing through the television channels seeking something to watch, if they come upon a terrible looking movie with bad acting, bad dialog, and a bad plot, they quickly move on to a different channel.  Sometimes when that happens to me, and the movie is incredibly bad, I become fascinated with it, and like watching a train wreck, I can’t look away and have to watch it to the end.  I found Thomas Wharton’s novel, The Book of Rain, similar to one of those incredibly terrible films, and I couldn’t help but read it to the end, just to see if any redeeming qualities accidentally appeared.  None did.

I am a realist, and I have mentioned before in the Book Club, that for me, one of the most important things in a novel, is believability.  I can stretch my imagination a bit by thinking, “Well, that might happen, but it is pretty far fetched.” but there is a limit to what I am able to swallow.  This novel went way beyond my believability, and my acceptance. 

It’s storyline is a mixed up convoluted jumble of ridiculous situations which didn’t take me long to hate.  I couldn’t work up any attachment or empathy for any of the characters, and although I am extremely concerned about global warming and the loss of livability in our planet, which is the underlying theme of the novel, the ecologically deteriorating world the characters in this novel lived in, just didn’t didn’t make sense.

The story is set in Canada, where a family traveling to a live in a new community where a relative owns a business,  makes an overnight stop in this small town in the middle of nowhere to overnight.  While eating, an atmospheric “wobble” travels through the restaurant and the community.  This  periodically occurring wobble effects the consciousness of people, some more than others, and is caused by a mysterious ore, called “Ghost” that is being mined nearby.  Later on in the novel, one victim of the wobble was doubled into two people, by the effects of the wobble.

Alex, the boy in the family is somewhat effected by the wobble, while Amery his young sister is put into a four day coma by it.  So what do you think this family, that is just passing through town, decides to do?  They decide to live in that community.

When those kids grow up, Alex, the boy, becomes a maker of imaginative games, working for a high tech game-making group in a large urban area.  The grown up Amery, remains in the small town that now has a large restricted area nearby, caused by the problematic, wobble-producing Ghost mineral that was mined there.  Amery keeps sneaking into the restricted area to save the wildlife there.  She then disappears in the restricted area, and so Alex returns to the town to try to find her.

Not satisfied with the already convoluted plat, the author creates another storyline for the enjoyment of the reader.  It concerns Clare, another former resident of the town, who now earns her living as an illegal animal trafficker, who smuggles rare and threatened animals for collectors .  She is in a big city on some developed touristy, rainy, island that is about to get blown to bits by a volcano.  While there, waiting to learn what her next smuggling job will be, an almost extinct heron, the last female of the species, lays an egg on the balcony of Clare’s hotel room (What a coincidence!)  Although Clare tries to keep it’s existence quiet, hoping to steal the precious egg, the hotel staff discover the rare bird, and Clare is then visited by the adolescent Dala lama-type king of the island, who seems to know about her, and urges her to rescue the egg, if anything like the erupting volcano, starts to destroy the island.  The reader is then left hanging, never knowing for sure what happened.

The novel then skips ahead many decades and the reader enters a time period where humankind has pretty much been wiped out by the ecological collapse of life on earth, but Amery, now a grandmother, along with her grandson, hike to one of the last life-supporting areas for birds. By this time, birds have learned to talk to each other.  Fortunately Amery, while lost in that old restricted area long ago, also learned to talk to birds.  

Then in the last 50 something pages of the novel, the reader is treated to the story of what happened in those skipped over years, which is relayed by a talking raven.  Yes, the talking raven tells the rest of the story.

I could use more colorful words to describe my opinion of this novel, but I will restrain that urge and only say it wasn’t my cup of tea.

View my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca

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