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The History of Rain

Stephens Gerard Malone

232 pages
Nimbus Publishing

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.