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Red Rain Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 6, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307272079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307272072
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Murkoff's distinctive second novel (after the much acclaimed Waterborne) spans five months in 1864 as Dr. William Harp returns to his Hudson Valley hometown after 10 years on a California expedition. With the nation at war and many locals in various states of decline, the doctor doesn't have much idle time. Among the lives that will intersect are mischievous, hard-drinking 13-year-old Coley Hinds, who is eternally torn between right and wrong; retired shipping captain Mickey Blessing; and Mickey's sister, Jane, who pines for her MIA soldier husband, Frank. A narrative lynchpin comes in the discovery of a mastodon skeleton, leading Will to purchase the land where it's found and to scavenge for other remains. Meanwhile, the hushed death of a local woman, violence involving Mickey and a local troublemaker, and jealousy of Will's notoriety for the skeleton he's begun reconstructing on his land all make for a heady denouement. The townsfolks' elaborately described machinations have a tendency to move the narrative in stops and starts, but that's about the only flaw in this dense, deliberate, and lush saga that will surely appeal to readers who appreciate brawny historicals. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Set in five months in 1864 in the Hudson River Valley, Murkoff's second novel (after Waterborne, 2004) vividly captures the life of the time, the damage done by war, and the ruthlessness of greed. After serving as a doctor in the army and surviving the Shoshone campaign in Utah, Will Harp returns to claim his family homestead in Rondout, guilt-ridden about his actions in the heat of battle and about lack of contact with his father before he died. Will finds an adversary in Mickey Blessing, the charmingly amoral hired muscle of a powerful businessman who needs Will's land to fulfill his dream. Their lives intersect with teenage orphan Coley Hind, who switches allegiance between the two men. This is less focused than Waterborne, which centered on the building of Boulder Dam; instead, it's a sprawling, meandering novel, chock-full of sensory detail that is sometimes painfully acute—as in portraying grief when a loved one is lost in war—and scattered with flashbacks to fill in backstories. Plot matters less here than evocation of time and place, and Murkoff is a master at that. --Michele Leber

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Observer on September 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am just now finishing this wonderful book, and I don't know why everyone in America isn't reading this masterful novel about a set of exquisitely-drawn characters who live in Rondout, NY during the Civil War. Perceptive, brutal, ultimately redemptive, the novel triumphs. I can't wait to read Waterborne, his first, which I have heard is wonderful, too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James P. Patuto on August 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This was a fantastic book set in 1864, but the Civil War is background, intruding in the lives of characters like a fog of malice. Set in a Hudson river town growing rich off the war, with colorful and real characters, Irish immigrants, Dutch businessmen , free Blacks, veterans of the Indian wars out west, all drawn together for good or bad because of the discovery of a Mastoden skeleton with a murderous mountain lion thrown in with the violence of a Country coming to terms with itself. At first I was put off by the description on the book flap, what a mistake , this ranks up there with the best historical novels that I've read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In 1864 after spending the last decade as part of the cavalry in California fighting against Indians, Dr. William Harp returns home to his Rondout, New York farm depressed over the atrocities he witnessed. Although the Hudson Valley is far from the battlefields, William quickly realizes his neighbors are impacted by the men at war. Dr. Harp is very concerned with the wellbeing of those left behind.

Thirteen years old Coley Hinds is becoming a drunkard. Jane Blessing fears for the life of her spouse Frank Quinn, missing in action and presumed dead. Her brother Mickey Blessing retired from shipping, but increasingly turns violent as an enforcer for businessman Harry Grieves; Mickey mentors Coley on how to enforce a business deal. Finally a local woman has been murdered, but no one wants to talk about it as Will begins to find a mastodon's skeletal remains one bone at a time.

This is a deep historical tale that looks closely on the impact of war on those far from the front, but affected either by loved ones in uniform or the economic shock. The ensemble cast is fully developed to that each brings to life what the Civil War and the Indians War mean and do to them. Readers will relish this terrific saga as all's not quit on the Hudson Valley front even with no military battles for hundred of miles.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amy AN on August 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book and am a huge fan of this author! His descriptions of scenery and situations are amazing. It's one of those books you are sad to finish because you've grown so fond of the characters that you want to spend more time with them. I highly recommend this book and his previous book, Waterborne.
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