Did she say, at the beginning, that it rained every day? She was wrong. She misspoke. She didn't mean it. ... No. It did not rain every day. But it rained for a hundred days, that year, which was enough--more than enough, even.
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.
In elliptical prose reminiscent of Elizabeth Smart's beloved novel By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, One Hundred Days of Rain exposes the inner-workings of a life that has come apart. Readers will engage with Brooks' poetic and playful constraint that unfolds chapter by chapter, where the narrator's compulsive cataloguing of rain's vicissitudes forms a kind of quiet meditation: an acknowledgement of the ongoing weight of sadness, the texture of it, and its composition--not only emotional weight, but also the weight of all the stupid little things a person deals with when they're rebuilding a life.
Rhodes Scholar Carellin Brooks is the author of Fresh Hell: Motherhood in Pieces (2013), Every Inch a Woman (2011), and Wreck Beach (2007). She has edited the anthologies Carnal Nation, with Brett Josef Grubisic, and Bad Jobs. Winner of the Books in Canada Student Writing Award for poetry (1993), the Cassell/Pink Paper Lesbian Writing Award for non-fiction (1994), and the Institute for Contemporary Arts New Blood Award for prose (1995), Brooks lives and works in Vancouver, where she was born. Connect with Brooks at www.carellinbrooks.com or on Twitter @carellinb.
Praise for One Hundred Days of Rain:
A quiet and meditative book that reads like a mystery: How do we find ourselves--sometimes simultaneously--moving both toward and away from the things that matter to us most?
- Johanna Skibsrud, 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize Winner for The Sentimentalists
Is there a worse city in which to suffer a vindictive, litigated break up than unrelentingly sodden Vancouver? In these one hundred intimate chapters, Carellin Brooks has convinced me no. Her forbearing heroine bikes through torrents, dodges puddles, keeps moving through bitterness and weather. Nobody, not even the rain, has such nerve.
-Caroline Adderson, author of Ellen in Pieces
Carellin Brooks' marvellous and brooding novel, sparking after yet another downpour, offers a natural history of rain and breakups. Just as snow-bound cultures have numerous words for different kinds of snow, so the Vancouverite requires many words and varied descriptions for rain. The exquisite descriptions of internal and external tensions are what capture here, what pierce and press the reader forward, j-walking through the tumbling language of rain, dodging in and out of the doorways of these short, sharp, shocked chapters. Carellin Brooks offers a loud and persistent rejoinder to the idea of "the pathetic fallacy": the internal and external do coalesce, and they do so at the apex of the most precise and revealing sentences I have read in years.
- Stephen Collis
". ..a memorably profound and stylish portrait of love's complications. " - Publishers' Weekly
". ..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. " - Worn Pages and Ink
"In 100 brief and rain-drenched chapters Brooks maps the painful distance from hope (romantic whispers of future anniversaries) to despair (police sirens, lawyers, court dates, loneliness). Between the two states, there's lots of introspection pursuing the age-old question: How did things go so very wrong?" - Brett Josef Grubisic for Daily Xtra
Tell us what you think!
Sign Up or Sign In to add your review or comment.
Related Blog Posts