A novel by Peter Gadol, this is 'a dark, seductive novel' that attempts some wonderful things and simultaneously delivers or fails, depending on who you ask and which reviews you read.

Jason is a lawyer who has lost his job, his wife, everything. In the usual sort of despair he heads to an old family vineyard deep in the Californian wine region. There, he pulls himself together and through obsessional hard work he gains back self respect. His family return, he has a new job and a new passion in his winemaking, and he becomes part of the valley community.

Jason, however, is still restless, and drives maniacally for hours in the night until inevitably he hits and kills a local boy. Without admitting his own guilt, he takes on the defense of the drifter convicted of the hit and run.

The novel's premise isn't a bad one, but it remains merely a premise...hinges on inaction and a narrative tone that is lugubrious. After pages and pages of Jason's dithering, there's a brief episode ...toward the end of the book...raising the reader's hopes. But Jason persists in being an unredeemed bore. We can only yawn and agree when he admits, "Little made sense to me. Nothing added up."

Excerpt from a N.Y. Times Book Review

Hrm. I liked the premise very much, and I did not find the narrative to be boring, nor excessive, nor slow in the slightest. Unrushed and serious at the same time, perhaps. Evenly paced, even.

The Long Rain is a good book. It has a steady, measured pace and Gadol plays a bit with the reader's expectations. The depiction of Jason's life are so real that you almost feel the crushing weight of the guilt he bears and the choices he makes. It is a little pathetic to see the vines flourish and suffer in reflection of Jason's changing fortunes, but the author makes it work. The end, too, may be fairly foreseeable but the valley roads that take you there are not and Gadol is good at painting complex motivations of human beings.

The Long Rain is a science-fiction story by Ray Bradbury, published in 1950 and collected in R is for Rocket. It is about a dozen pages long.

Like many Bradbury stories, the setting and science behind "The Long Rain" are not explained in detail. The story involves a half-dozen soldiers from Earth, lost on Venus, a planet clouded in perpetual rain. (Which was, in 1950, a common scientific view of what Venus would be like.) The soldiers are at war with the Venusians, and are seeking a "sun dome" for physical and psychological relief from the environment. All but one of the soldiers go insane and die before a "sun dome" is found.

An unavoidable thought that occurred to me while reading the story is the parallels with the Vietnam War. The soldiers are in a guerrilla war in a jungle, with low morale and in-fighting. While these are fairly vague parallels, the story still seems to be about the breakdown of the optimistic sense of expansion against the grinding realities of foreign worlds. But the story was written in 1950, when (in general), America was optimistic about both the morality and feasibility of its foreign policy, and when technological progress was mostly unquestioned. So the story's pessimistic, even surreal take on exploration may have been a stroke of foresight on the part of Ray Bradbury, may have just been an artistic experiment.

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