Literary historical fiction set in a war-torn Europe and glamourous Old Hollywood, following a lonely landscape gardener, from author of Big Town and I Still Have a Suitcase in Berlin
Our story begins in 1915. While convalescing in a French army hospital, Rain, a veteran of the Great War now raging across Europe, finds solace in aiding the buildings' groundskeeper. An unlikely apprentice gardener, he buries himself in this work. The bulbs, the tubers, and the soil care not that his face is now deformed forever. "I say give the earth your rage, young man, and she'll give you flowers", the groundskeeper tells him. And so he does.
In the ensuing decadence of the postwar years, Rain finds himself lured into the intricate and lavish world of landscape gardening. In demand to a certain upper-class clientele, he travels the world to create magnificent gardens for celebrities and, eventually for the pictures during Hollywood's Golden Age. But the nomadic nature of his work is also a way for him to chase his unrequitred love, Lily.
A sprawling story written in stunning, spare language, this anticipated new novel from the master wordsmith behind Big Town and I Still Have a Suitcase in Berlin is a lyrical, magical, and starkly realist meditation on the dissonant worlds that emerge from the conflict, and the lengths we'll go to chase the illusion of love.
About the author
Stephens Gerard Malone was a child of military bases and once walllpapered a Toronto apartment with publishers' rejection letters. He's the author of five novels, including BIg Town, Nimbus Publishing/Vagarant Press. His novel of rural angst, Miss Elva, was shortlisted for the Dartmouth Book Award. While the world-renowned gardens in The History of Rain may be fabulous, his is not. Stephens writes in Nova Scotia with his chow chows, living and remembered.
"The History of Rain is a spellbinding tale of enchantment, deception, and the impulses and illusions that make us human. Stephens Gerard Malone is a master, his writing a marvel of breathtaking tautness and force as he charts the darkness of war-ravaged Europe and the gilt, sun-drenched surfaces of Old Hollywood. A novel as dazzling as the gardens at the heart of it — astonishing."
— Carol Bruneau, award-winning author of Brighten the Corner Where You Are
"The History of Rain is a moving and compassionate tale of war's devastation, the moral cost of survival, and one man's search for love. Writing with cinematic clarity, Stephens Gerard Malone proves again that he is a master of narrative tension and a first-rate historical novelist. This is a novel that leaves an indelible mark on the reader."
— Ian Colford, award-winning author of A Dark House & Other Stories