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Fiction Nature & The Environment

The Book of Rain

by (author) Thomas Wharton

Random House of Canada
Initial publish date
Mar 2023
Nature & the Environment, Literary, Dystopian
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price

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A groundbreaking, deeply affecting work of environmental literary suspense for fans of Cloud Atlas, The Overstory, and Station Eleven.

The northern mining town of River Meadows is one of three hotspots in the world producing ghost ore, a new source of energy worth twenty-eight times its weight in gold. It's also linked with slippages of time and space that gradually render the area uninhabitable. After the town is evacuated, the whole region is cordoned off, the new no-go zone wryly nicknamed "the Park."

Three intertwined stories flow from the disaster of River Meadows. Alex Hewitt and his sister, Amery, were among the first to be shipped out of the contaminated town. Now an accomplished game designer, Alex has moved on, but his sister has not, making increasingly dangerous break-ins to save animals trapped in the toxic wasteland. When at last she fails to return from a trip inside the fence, Alex flies to River Meadows to search for her, enlisting her friend, Michio Amano, a mathematician who needs to transcend the known laws of physics if he and Alex are to succeed.

Claire Foley ran away from River Meadows as a teenager and now traffics in endangered wildlife. As Alex and Michio search for Amery, Claire arrives in an island nation under threat of environmental catastrophe to retrieve her greatest prize yet, only to find herself facing a life-altering choice.

And, finally, in a future as distant as myth, a flock of birds sets out on a dangerous journey to prevent the extinction of their ancient enemy, humanity. The account they hand down is an Epic of Gilgamesh for our times, illuminating the wisdom of nature and our flawed stewardship of the planet.

As sweeping in scope as a world of its own, The Book of Rain is a novel of epic reach, beautifully multi-layered, haunting and profound.

About the author

Thomas Wharton was born in Grande Prairie, Alberta, an agriculture and oil city located near the BC border. His father, a utilities manager, was transferred to Jasper when Wharton was a teen. The years Wharton spent exploring the mountains and glaciers around Jasper have had a lasting impact on his literary output; references to the Rocky Mountains weave in and out of the books he has written, most notably Icefields (NeWest Press, 1995) and The Logogryph. A life-long love of maps, history, art, and poetry equally informs his work. His latest adult novel is Every Blade of Grass. He is also the author of a fantasy trilogy, The Perilous Realm for younger readers. The Shadow of Malabron, The Fathomless Fire, and The Tree Story are available from Doubleda Canada.

Thomas Wharton's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Thomas Wharton's novel has a prismatic effect: a reader can see rainbow refractions of Strugatsky, Joan Lindsay, Jeff Vandermeer, even Lovecraft—but The Book of Rain is unique enough to exist beyond comparison. A book of rich characterizations and bold ideas, the kind of highwire act many writers shy away from. The fact that Wharton pulls it off is a kind of miracle, one I'm glad I had an opportunity to experience." —Craig Davidson, author of The Saturday Night Ghost Club and Rust and Bone

“It’s difficult to describe just how audaciously imaginative The Book of Rain is. Thomas Wharton has crafted a world parallel to this one yet not, an epic of consuming scope. This is more than climate fiction for climate fiction’s sake: with beautiful literary control, Wharton ventures into the wilds, and in doing so presents a stunning excavation of how fragile, fleeting and many-faced it is to be human. I wish more books surprised me as much as this one did.” —Omar El Akkad, author of the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning What Strange Paradise

The Book of Rain ripples through reality, giving us a new vocabulary for the strange and dangerous world we find ourselves in. A subtle and haunting journey through the intertwined lives of three characters at the end of the world, Wharton’s unflinching eye and soaring imagination turn a perilous journey wondrous.” —Eden Robinson, author of The Trickster Trilogy

The Book of Rain isn’t so much a book as it is an ecosystem—intricate and delicate, with storylines that cross and converge and seem as rooted in place—and every bit as alive—as the animals and plants that course through these pages. And just like an ecosystem, the reader comes away from it astonished and fulfilled. Look on these pages and revel in wonder.” —Amanda Leduc, author of The Centaur’s Wife

Other titles by Thomas Wharton