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
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
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.