Cover image for Rainsongs : a novel / Sue Hubbard.
Title:
Rainsongs : a novel / Sue Hubbard.
Author:
ISBN:
9781468316636
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Overlook Press, 2018.

©2018
Physical Description:
221 pages ; 21 cm
Abstract:
Newly widowed, Martha Cassidy has returned to a remote cottage in a nearly abandoned village on the west coast of Ireland. There, she reflects on another loss in her life: that of her ten-year-old son, Bruno, who met an untimely death twenty years earlier. As the days unfold, Martha searches for a way forward beyond grief, but finds herself drawn into a standoff between the successful hotel developer Eugene Riordan and an elderly local hill farmer Paddy O'Connell. As the crisis between these men escalates and Paddy suspiciously ends up in the hospital, Martha encounters Colm, a talented but much younger musician and poet--roughly the same age that Bruno would have been if he'd lived. Caught between her history and future, and that of a rapidly changing Ireland, Martha is beset with choices that will alter her life forever.
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Summary

Summary

In Rainsongs, Sue Hubbard, a peerless and enduring Irish voice, combines the emotional intensity of John Banville and the lyrical evocation of Anne Enright. Newly widowed, Martha Cassidy has returned to a remote cottage in a nearly abandoned village on the west coast of Ireland. There, she reflects on another loss in her life: that of her ten-year-old son, Bruno, who met an untimely death twenty years earlier. Alone on the windswept headland, surrounded by miles of cold sea, she feels the past closing in. As the days unfold, Martha searches for a way forward beyond grief, but finds herself drawn into a standoff between the successful hotel developer Eugene Riordan and an elderly local hill farmer Paddy O'Connell. As the crisis between these men escalates and Paddy suspiciously ends up in the hospital, Martha encounters Colm, a talented but much younger musician and poet--roughly the same age that Bruno would have been if he'd lived. Caught between her history and future, and that of a rapidly changing Ireland, Martha is beset with choices that will alter her life forever.

Rainsongs conjures the rugged beauty of the remote Irish coastline and the inner landscapes of its characters in richly poetic language, moving effortlessly between the lives of people and the life of the terrain, between the forces that shape character and those that shape the world. It unfolds as a compelling tale of grief, art, and the fragile, quiet ways in which time and place can offer a measure of redemption


Author Notes

Sue Hubbard is an art critic, novelist, award-winning poet, lecturer, and broadcaster. Twice winner of the London Writers' Award, she contributes regularly to a wide range of publications including Time Out, New Statesman, and The Independent, and has also written for The Times, the Guardian, and New York Arts Magazine.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hubbard's affecting but lightly plotted third novel (after Girl in White) takes readers on a brief, refreshing sojourn in Ireland's County Kerry. Martha Cassidy, recently widowed by her half-Irish husband, returns to his writer's cottage on the remote western cusp of the country, where new economic forces and those who wield them clash with homespun locals and their way of life. Upon arrival, Martha encounters a small cast of men emblematic of the conflict: relentlessly ambitious real estate mogul Eugene Riordan; stalwart Paddy O'Connell, a cottage owner at odds with Eugene; and Colm, a young man with fierce loyalty to his home town. Eugene is trying to buy Paddy out of his farmland, but the plucky old Irishman resists him at every turn. As Martha gets to know Paddy and helps him convalesce after an injury, she has time to reflect on her past and begins to truly process the death of her son 20 years before-when he was only 10 years old. Colm is the same age as her son would have been. The conflict between a traditional but decaying Ireland and a newer, greedier one is an intriguing backdrop, but the novel's thin plot never rises to the drama of the landscape, and Hubbard's characters are less subtly crafted than her setting: Paddy is a hasty sketch of a stubborn farmer; Eugene is cartoonishly cold; Colm is comically charming. Despite thin plotting, Hubbard's ruminations on grief carry this novel and should appeal to fans of Kristin Hannah or Claire-Louise Bennett. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

As she sorts through her recently deceased husband's effects at a small cottage on Ireland's west coast, Martha Cassidy reflects on her past visits there and the death of their son two decades earlier. She also reconnects with the people in the village, learning about the traditional Irish way of life and efforts to preserve it despite pressures to modernize during Ireland's boom years. Even as she mourns her losses, she is thus inspired to stand up to a developer who wants her land and prevents his plans from going forward. Martha experiences an existential sea change as she tries to construct a new life on the foundations of her old one. VERDICT An award-winning novelist, poet, and art critic, Hubbard (Girl in White) captures the clash between tradition and progress, vividly describing both the inner workings of her characters and the wild and beautiful Irish seaside. She masterfully presents the human struggle to overcome adversity and to find reason to continue to do so.-Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.