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I Will Send Rain
272 pages; Henry Holt and Co.
It is 1934, during the Dust Bowl years, and things have become so desperate that the few remaining farmers of Mulehead, Oklahoma, have pooled their money to blow dynamite into the sky, hoping to shake out a little rain. This becomes yet another failure that the members of the Bell family struggle to endure in Rae Meadows' lyrical, devastating novel. While the patriarch of the Bell family, Samuel, wrestles with the voices in his head compelling him to build an ark, Annie, his wife, and two surviving children all take refuge in a neighboring house recently abandoned by a family fleeing the economic despair. At the center of this bleak, tautly constructed story is Annie, who begins having an affair with the Mulehead mayor. With echoes of Faulkner and Steinbeck, each character chases after a meager form of comfort and stability in this harsh, unforgiving landscape, where "every direction was the same. Flat, colorless, known." Annie's efforts to save herself and her family end in sadness, but her refusal to submit to hopelessness shines through the dust and the tears.
— Domenica Ruta