"RAIN," by Kristy Gunn. 95 pages. Atlantic Monthly Press. $15
It's a good thing this novel is only 95 pages, because it would be near-impossible for the reader to survive the tension and sadness that bubble up through every word. This must be what it feels like to drown, reading this book, knowing that death is inevitable and pointless, though preventable.
Janey is 12, her brother Jim is 5, and together with their drunken, socialite parents they spend their summers on a lake. Janey teaches Jim to swim, makes sure that he is fed and tucked in and cared for and gives him all the stability and attention that their narcissistic parents do not. Each day the two escape
together on some new watery adventure, in which every detail, every shrub, seems ominous.
It is a novel that resembles a slide show more than a movie, a grainy, dim memory in which the ending is contained in each image.
Susan Salter Reynolds
The Los Angeles Times