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Thomas Wharton, The Book of Rain

Thomas Wharton's 2023 novel The Book of Rain  is deliberately indirect, piercingly imaginative, and a painful joy. I'm glad to see that it received some award nominations, but I very much hope that it finds an awful lot of readers. At bottom, it delivers exactly what I think readers have been asking for, in these times of catastrophes and catastrophism, and for some of those readers who've enjoyed David Bradley's Clade , Annie Proulx's Barkskins , Michael Christie's Greenwood , or Richard Powers' The Overstory , this will be exactly what they're asking for. A brief review, to begin The Book of Rain  is climate fiction, more or less, if that phrase has any reliable meaning at this point. Its narrative is anchored in a small northern Alberta town where a fictitious ore is mined, an ore generating so much power as to be virtually magical in its impact on the world. The children of the Hewitt family are the novel's key characters, with scenes from their

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