Title: One Hundred Days of Rain
Author: Carelling Brooks
Publication Date: March 2015
Synopsis from cover:
In prose by turn haunting and crystalline, Carellin Brooks’ One Hundred Days of Rain enumerates an unnamed narrator’s encounters with that most quotidian of subjects: rain. Mourning her recent disastrous breakup, the narrator must rebuild a life from the bottom up. As she wakes each day to encounter Vancouver’s sky and city streets, the narrator notices that the rain, so apparently unchanging, is in fact kaleidoscopic. Her melancholic mood alike undergoes subtle variations that sometimes echo, sometimes contrast with her surroundings. Caught between the two poles of weather and mood, the narrator is not alone: whether riding the bus with her small child, searching for an apartment to rent, or merely calculating out the cost of meager lunches, the world forever intrudes, as both a comfort and a torment.
One Hundred Days of Rain is a short novel that covers a vast journey of a narrator’s struggle to survive a break up, to navigate a custody battle, and to find happiness. The narrator walks through life observing her surroundings and trying to make ends meet. Hers is a story of commonality and the day to day human existence. The narrator is nameless, as are her lovers, ex-husband, and child. We know her only as she. She could be anyone. I enjoyed the fact that characters are not given a name. They characters that readers can see themselves mirrored in. Removing the names takes away any stereotypes or pre-determined ideas that we might have about a character. For instance, we know our narrator has a son and an ex-husband, but it only through the discrete use of pronouns that we discover that she is also battling with her previous lover, a woman, and she has a current lover, also a woman. It’s subtle and well-executed. My picture of the narrator was carefully cultivated through the pages, rather than defined the instant I began reading. Brooks gives you, the reader, more control over your imaginative experience.
My one criticism is the one thing that I perhaps should have been better prepared to encounter when I initially picked up this book, and that is the thorough discussion of rain. It is a ubiquitous presence throughout these 200 pages. While Brooks’ descriptions are beautiful and thoughtful, I quickly tired of the discussion of rain. She lives in a perpetually wet city. Got it. And the one thing that got under my skin–and only because of my own personal experiences–was this inaccurate statement: “There are other places, true. Places she stayed about about which she can testify upon returning that it never rained there, not once. Kingston. The cold knifelike, that sharp it was. Summers muggy and clear” (41). Now perhaps there’s little rain in the summer? But after 4 years of attending university in Kingston, I can personally attest that it rains an incredible amount. More than anywhere I’ve ever lived. I had to buy rain gear when I moved there. I’ve lost many a good boot to the rain in Kingston. It’s a city basically under water. I’ve never lived anywhere as wet. Now I will give it to the author that the story takes place in B.C. and I’m sure Ontario rainfall doesn’t even compare. But this statement needs amending because Kingston is one of the rainiest places in Southern Ontario, without a doubt. No one can say that it never rains there.
To end, I absolutely adore this cover. As with most BookThug covers, it is a work of art. It is stunning, attention grabbing, and unique. It’s a melancholy read. It’s a story of struggle and resilience. It’s a tale of one woman’s journey to find her way after losing so much, to make a place in this world for her and her son. Although there were things I didn’t like, overall it was a very enjoyable story.