Hard Rain Falling
Don Carpenter’s Hard Rain Falling is a tough-as-nails account of being down and out, but never down for good—a Dostoyevskian tale of crime, punishment, and the pursuit of an ever-elusive redemption. The novel follows the adventures of Jack Levitt, an orphaned teenager living off his wits in the fleabag hotels and seedy pool halls of Portland, Oregon. Jack befriends Billy L...more
The book is epic in scope, covering over three decades of eventful action, from late 1920’s subsistence horse ranches to the San Francisco of the early ‘60’s, on the cusp of ...more
Don Carpenter (1931–1995) - American author who grew up in Berkeley, California and lived most of his life in the Pacific Northwest. Hard Rain Falliing was his first novel, published in 1966.
Hard Rain Falling - A clear, honest story of Jack Levitt, a young man abused and brutalized in his years growing up in an orphanage and, after running away to Portland, Oregon at age sixteen, living his hardscrabble life among his buddies and cheap whores, in and out of sleazy pool halls, dilapidated boardin ...more
first day of class he gave us a list of qualities we'd potentially possess as adults.
wanted us to rank them from 1 - 20 in order of importance.
some of the stuff on the list:
cole was a strange bird. a thin meticulous type; kind of a well-toned george will with a contemptuous sneer. he watched as we scored the rankings and held them up to be collected. he didn't want them. he stoo ...more
When a book starts with a line which is immediately reminiscent of Infinite Jest, then it’s alright to have some unrestrained expectations from it.
They can kill you, but they can’t eat you.But with Hard Rain Falling I had to keep a lot many things in mind before letting my expectations go out of hand and to eventually give what I may immodestly pronounce as a fair reaction. The fact that this book was written in 1960’s was something I constantly reminded myself. It helped when I came across ...more
Dear god, I am a bored housewife to these good books. I blame goodreads in part ...more
The story line is simple yet somewhat destined so that readers can leisurely stop to consider why the charcters think and act in the way they do in certain situations and relationships.It seems like they try to ...more
Hard Rain Falling might be as stark and uncompromising a novel as I’ve ever read. The story focuses on Jack, raised in an orphanage and proficient in petty crime and bad decisions, and Billy, a pool hustler who starts losing his touch at the tables and makes his own harrowing mistakes. The two meet in Portland as teenagers and reconnect years later in a California prison. Jack’s post-incarceration search for meaning comprise the nov ...more
Jack has a lot of time to think, see, because he is often in the slammer. And he's there for things he's done, for things he hasn't done; but mostly because of who and what he's not. A parable? So he scratches his itch, ...more
Out of the wild action, truth is delivered with clear-eyed lucidity and although the characters talk of self-pity quite a bit, the truth is clean of it. Clean of regret.
There is so ...more
Never before have I read a novel that was so true, so raw and so heartbreaking, I was often filled with dread and anxiety for the characters in Hard Rain Falling, because they are flawed and can’t escape who and what they are no matter how hopeful they are, they keep failing in life and it’s as if their doomed from the start. All of this is pretty depressing but I feel Don Carpenter was writing about as realistic as possible, the American Dream simply doesn’t include everyone, and some are far ...more
Don Carpenter does not appear to be an author revelling in fame. Actually he is not revelling in anything as he died about twenty years ago. However if the quality of his novel Hard Rain Falling is an accurate compass, he should probably be considered one of the great 20th century American authors.
Hard Rain Falling is simply brilliant. Written completely without ostentation or pretence, it is a rigorous study of the suffering and isolation of those who are born without the benefit of good fortu ...more
It's not a pretty story contained within these pages. It deals with the down and out, the poolhalls the hustlers and seedier aspects of life. But it's also a book of mateship, love and redemption that are found found where Jack least expects it.
Jack's struggle against fate, his anger, his search for meaning and his relationship with Bill ...more
I've abandoned 'Day' for it, and read the first 50 pages today waiting to get in the bathroom (it's my eldest's 20th and we're all going out). Hard and fast stuff. Excellent.
Now read about 90 pages and it just gets better and better, it is almost miraculously good..
I'm not sure I'd go quite that far, but it is a very good book with brilliantly drawn characters. The main protagonist is Jack Levitt, an orphan whom we first meet on the streets of Portland, Oregon, in 1947. Jack is ...more
Carpenter has done some time in a pool hall or two. With the character of Billy Lancing, he captures the thrill of the kill (as in, killing suckers ...more
Anyway, just like it happened with all that baseball business in 'Underworld' by Don De Lillo, eventually I won over my lack of interest (and knowledge) for the sake of the engaging plot.
For Don Carpenter certainly knew where to find pool joints of ill fame in the US ...more
The canter through the marriage weakened it, however. Something was lost after San Quentin and, whilst there were certainly flashes of the earlier brilliance ... going back to find Billy's cue! ..., the last third lost focus.
But I'm still giving it five stars.
Who knew Americans played snooker?
"Jack and Denny had ditched the Cadilla ...more
three very different eras in one man's life: a raging early hoodlum boyhood of poolhalls and not-so-petty crimes; then stints at prison inc ...more
When I read this, memories ... walking some of the same nightlife streets, knowing some hustlers, and having heard the Rocky Butte Jail's big steel doors close behind me* ... the story's power had personal connections. (*For college credit, I "volunteered" as a Parole Officer's "assistant.")
Have subsequently started re-reading a couple times, but couldn't long stay in the reality.
Here's one of those Kirkus Reviews I like to copy and paste:
"Bored, indi ...more
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All right. Everything is a dream. Nothing hangs together. You move from one dream to another and there is no reason for the change. Your eyes see things and your ears hear, but nothing has any reason behind it. It would be easier to believe in God. Then you could wake up and yawn and stretch and grin at a world that was put together on a plan of mercy and death, punishment for evil, joy for good, and if the game was crazy at least it had rules. But that didn't make sense. It had never made any sense. The trouble was, now that he was not asleep and not awake, what he saw and heard didn't make sense either.
Mishmash, he thought. You know enough to know how you feel is senseless, but you don't know enough to know why.”