Ali Shaw - The Man Who Rained (3 stars)

Fantastical modern fable from the author of The Girl With Glass Feet

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Ali Shaw - The Man Who Rained

(Atlantic)

After the success of The Girl With Glass Feet, Ali Shaw sticks to his penchant for penning fables with a folklore-filled romance set in a small, superstitious American town. But Thunderstown is not as it first appears when Elsa Beletti arrives to start afresh following a relationship break-up and the death of her father.

We join the 29-year-old New Yorker ‘at the start of starting over’ with Shaw’s vivid, dream-like descriptions perfectly conveying her grief and trepidation. A sense of adventure and new beginnings is soon tempered by subtly placed brushes with the uncanny. Beletti has a lot to contend with as she battles against an intense range of emotions triggered by family memories and her experiences of this mysterious place with its vivid cast of creatures, deities, devils, spirits and part-weather people.

Fantastical elements apart, however, The Man Who Rained is ultimately a tale of liberation and impossible love and it’s this, along with the Oxford-based author’s economical yet enchanting way with words, that works the real magic here.

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