Long-listed for the 2006 Re-Lit Award for Best Novel
Grant McRae has a loving wife, a healthy son, and a new career with the local police department. Bert Commerford has a pretty good life too, as the proud owner of Commerford & Sons Auto Service. But Bert’s sons are polar opposites: Travis is a budding junior hockey star, and Russell is a thug loaded with resentment for Bert. When tragedy befalls the Commerfords, Bert finds himself too haunted by his murky past to stop his life from buckling. Russell leaves home and almost immediately finds disaster as his path intersects with Constable McRae’s.
Told from alternating perspectives, The Next Rainy Day is a fast-moving exploration of loss and of finding hope in the wake of personal disaster.
Philip David Alexander's fiction has appeared in several literary journals and magazines, including Front & Centre, The Circle Magazine, and Storyglossia. The Next Rainy Day has been optioned for feature film by Entitled Entertainment in Los Angeles. Alexander lives and writes in Toronto. This is his first novel.
Philip David Alexander's debut novel The Next Rainy Day is a muscular book. The jacket shows a thick-fingered mechanic in greasy coveralls on a smoke break. Inside, Alexander weaves a tragic tale awash in confusion, frustration, rage, ruin, revenge and guilt. It's a dark, visceral novel that bores straight into the hearts-black though they may be-of its hard-luck characters...
Alexander... spares us any tidy aphorisms about overcoming death, the power of faith, police corruption and the stupidity of youth-that sort of docudrama nonsense is thankfully nowhere to be seen. Instead, the author turns his characters inside out, giving readers a front-row seat from which to witness their pain, suffering and perseverance. The novel is blunt, honest and at times depressing as a result, but absolutely perfect for readers who savour genuine realism over saccharine moralizing.
Matthew Firth, Ottawa Xpress, November 24th 2005
The Next Rainy Day is a strong debut from Alexander, whose work has appeared in literary journals such as Front & Centre, The Circle Magazine, and Storyglossia... (T)his is a book with a male-focused narrative. How men deal with trauma; how men seek to resolve troubled emotions; how men attempt to find meaning in emotional ambiguity. Paraphrase any of these points and you are near the core of this novel. The Next Rainy Day could have come from the pen of Russell Banks. Think The Sweet Hereafter. Think Affliction. These are not easy books with simple plotlines or quick moral resolution. The Next Rainy Day isn't either.
Michael Bryson, The Danforth Review
Philip David Alexander's The Next Rainy Day is a novel about cops and crimes, about death and loss, but it is in no way a contrivance. It is one of the most honest novels I have read in a while, a story of working class heroes who know there are no such things as happy endings, but only life's unimaginable twists and the grey choices they lead to. The writing is spare and rhythmic and moving, the structure is inventive, even breathtaking, when it finally reveals itself fully. This is a real novel, a work of deep humanity and insight. I recommend it highly.
Craig Holden, author of The Narcissist's Daughter
Alexander weaves a tale of two families that become closely connected and intertwined for a heart-wrenching story. He really made me think about what is right and what is wrong and whose side to take or not to take. It is left up to the reader to make up their own mind.
I found the author had a talent for character development and I either loved them or hated them. Alexander left me feeling their pain and sharing in their fight to right some wrongs, work through personal differences and then move on with their respective lives.
The Lethbridge Herald, March 11, 2006
the strength of the writing emerges through the carefully layered plot -- two men's lives intersect through a tragic car accident that brings one son to death and one son to jail.
Kim Goodliffe, The Vancouver Sun, March 4th 2006