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The Book of Rain

de Thomas Wharton

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The northern mining town of River Meadows is one of three hotspots in the world producing ghost ore, a new source of energy worth twenty-eight times its weight in gold. It's also linked with slippages of time and space that gradually render the area uninhabitable. After the town is evacuated, the whole region is cordoned off, the new no-go zone wryly nicknamed "the Park." Three intertwined stories flow from the disaster of River Meadows. Alex Hewitt and his sister, Amery, were among the first to be shipped out of the contaminated town. Now an accomplished game designer, Alex has moved on, but his sister has not, making increasingly dangerous break-ins to save animals trapped in the toxic wasteland. When at last she fails to return from a trip inside the fence, Alex flies to River Meadows to search for her, enlisting her friend, Michio Amano, a mathematician who needs to transcend the known laws of physics if he and Alex are to succeed. Claire Foley ran away from River Meadows as a teenager and now traffics in endangered wildlife. As Alex and Michio search for Amery, Claire arrives in an island nation under threat of environmental catastrophe to retrieve her greatest prize yet, only to find herself facing a life-altering choice. And, finally, in a future as distant as myth, a flock of birds sets out on a dangerous journey to prevent the extinction of their ancient enemy, humanity. The account they hand down is an Epic of Gilgamesh for our times, illuminating the wisdom of nature and our flawed stewardship of the planet.… (mais)
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I thought the parts were good it just didn't make for a satisfying whole. I always enjoy stories that take place in my region. ( )
  charlie68 | Dec 3, 2023 |
I don't know HOW I found out about this book which wasn't even published in the USA. Somehow this is a published by Random House Canada... I have no idea why because it immediately sounded like such a promising narrative! Not to mention that Wharton has won various awards for his other books yet somehow has not had much traction in the US? I'm assuming... or this lovely book would have crossed the border for US audiences. I had to seek out a copy. This is eco-fiction. It's also science-fiction. I LOVE that Wharton actually namedrops Tarkovsky's film 'Stalker' early on within the narrative, as so many books I read often remind me of 'Roadside Picnic' and I feel I'm always grasping at straws in the comparison. His mention of Stalker lets me know that this isn't just my imagination here. Within Wharton's book, fracking and mining in a small town has caused weird events called decoherences, causing the town to become uninhabitable. So instead of aliens creating the problem in 'Roadside Picnic', Wharton made the obvious, smart decision to have human activity create the problems. The story connects a woman who is working to help animals in the Environmental Reclamation Area, another woman who is trying to profit from the animals by trafficking rare animals. A third character is a game designer, all three characters are connected by a decoherence that happened when they were children in a diner. There are SO MANY memorable tidbits in this book -- one of my favorites being a game the main character Alex has invented involving Joseph Merrick, the elephant man, being a detective. Sadly, I think the pieces are better than the whole, interesting sci-fi elements and ideas that ultimately does not tie together as much as I would wish. I wonder if a lot of climate fiction really can't possibly have answers to the problem, so many of them end up on magical tangents. I had the same problem with Lidia Yuknavitch's 'Thrust' where the pieces just didn't fit together for me. Maybe the climate problem is so big, a novel ends up spinning away, even from the writer. Maybe I'm expecting a writer to solve a problem, when they are just intending to write a sci-fi book. So I need to learn to expect less from sci-fi? I still enjoyed reading this. And this was still very worthy of being published for US readers!
I would set this on the shelf beside: 'The Glass Hotel' by Emily St. John Mandel, 'My Volcano' by John Elizabeth Stintzi, 'Bangkok Wakes to Rain' by Pitchaya Sudbanthad. ( )
  booklove2 | Nov 8, 2023 |
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The northern mining town of River Meadows is one of three hotspots in the world producing ghost ore, a new source of energy worth twenty-eight times its weight in gold. It's also linked with slippages of time and space that gradually render the area uninhabitable. After the town is evacuated, the whole region is cordoned off, the new no-go zone wryly nicknamed "the Park." Three intertwined stories flow from the disaster of River Meadows. Alex Hewitt and his sister, Amery, were among the first to be shipped out of the contaminated town. Now an accomplished game designer, Alex has moved on, but his sister has not, making increasingly dangerous break-ins to save animals trapped in the toxic wasteland. When at last she fails to return from a trip inside the fence, Alex flies to River Meadows to search for her, enlisting her friend, Michio Amano, a mathematician who needs to transcend the known laws of physics if he and Alex are to succeed. Claire Foley ran away from River Meadows as a teenager and now traffics in endangered wildlife. As Alex and Michio search for Amery, Claire arrives in an island nation under threat of environmental catastrophe to retrieve her greatest prize yet, only to find herself facing a life-altering choice. And, finally, in a future as distant as myth, a flock of birds sets out on a dangerous journey to prevent the extinction of their ancient enemy, humanity. The account they hand down is an Epic of Gilgamesh for our times, illuminating the wisdom of nature and our flawed stewardship of the planet.

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