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Red Rain

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  58 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Following his acclaimed debut, Waterborne, Bruce Murkoff gives us another American panorama with a Civil War novel unlike any other.

Born near Rondout, New York, to a family steeped in wars both before and after independence, Will Harp returns home in 1864 for the first time in a decade, disconsolate over the campaigns being waged against Indians in the West even as the nat
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Knopf (first published 2010)
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Jonathan Briggs
Holy crap, I thought as I read the synopsis on the inside cover flap of "Red Rain," how is all this gonna fit in 300 pages?!! No one's ever going to fault author Bruce Murkoff for a lack of ambition. His second novel tells the tale of the summer and fall of 1864 in the port town of Rondout, N.Y., and Murkoff has a little something to say about pretty much every single resident. Harry Grieves runs the place, and he's gonna get paid one way or the other, so cough it up. Mickey Blessing, an Irish ...more
John Filson
Aug 31, 2010 John Filson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers of literary fiction
Recommended to John by: Washington Post review
I was shocked at how good this book is (and I should not have been, his first was great). The history of America at war has been told, but not this way, and not by these people-the ones left behind during the battles of the Civil War. The Hudson River town is so perfectly realized you can smell it. Murkoff is a very literary writer-his words can be fists or raindrops, and no matter who he's writing about, or what he's showing you you find yourself holding your breath. It's like no time at all ha ...more
No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't like Bruce Murkoff's "Red Rain." The story was well written and his attention to detail was magnificent. His descriptions are better than just about any author's I've read. The story had everything a good story should - intrigue, espionage, romance, hidden motives, not so hidden motives, and it is a coming of age story to boot (one of my favorites). But I just didn't like it.
There lotsa good things about this book. Plot isn't one of them. Author is masterly writer, but every event was predictable and none of it amounted to much in the end. I want to read his first novel, Waterbourne, however, so that says something.
Some of the more negative reviews I read for Murkoff's debut, Waterborne, some of the reviews I found myself defending against--that it was overwritten, that Murkoff reveled in his prose too much rather than allowing the narrative to develop more naturally--unfortunately, can all be applied to Red Rain.
I'll admit that I didn't finish this book, that it's possible it gets better. But i struggled to get a third of the way through it; it became turgid, too much character study not enough developmen
A great piece of historical fiction about life in the Hudson Valley in the Civil War Era. Murkoff creates an engrossing tale with complex charters. A must read if you love historical fiction.
Despite his tendency to introduce a large number of minor characters, I found the entire book to be entertaining and easy to follow. The author is adept at evoking all five senses and the reading is far from dull.
Set in a town on the Hudson River during the Civil War, this novel addresses a number of issues one would expect in a Civil War-era novel-- grief for the loss of loved ones, especially--and a number one might not expect (the thrill of scientific discovery, for example). The author is a master at placing the reader in a scene, vividly recreating sights, sounds, & smells; and he has created a bevy of vivid characters, as well. Some readers might wish for more sustained action, but the threat o ...more
Lisa Ramey
I really enjoyed this one. Lots of character development so if you don't like that, it may not be for you. A couple of the reviews on amazon indicated some of the occurrences that come up are too far fetched but each time I checked on something (mastodon bones and mountain lions in NY), found this to be valid for the time period. I'm ordering Murkoff's other book b/c I enjoyed this one so much. He weaves a good yarn!
Mar 05, 2015 Teresa added it
Shelves: owned
I thoroughly enjoyed Red Rain. Some reviewers seemed to feel that the story moved too slowly, that there was too much description of life in these Hudson River communities and out west during the final years of the Civil War, but that, plus the well-developed characters, is precisely why I enjoyed the book. Extremely well researched and with compelling characters and a story that kept me curious until the end.
Jason McKinney
Although the last act is somewhat drawn out at times, this is still one of the best novels I've ever read. Great characters and a view of history that isn't normally seen (the upper Hudson River Valley during the American Civil War) combine to make this a thrilling read, even if there isn't really a huge amount of plot. Highly recommended, whether you're a history buff or not.
Goody good characters. I did LIKE these people. An intersting, well wrapped story among them all...evoking the time period and place well AND a happy ending, for goodness sake. Always a plus for me when I like everyone I've been reading about and gotten pulled way into the story.
Really loved the writing, and also the history involving upstate NY.
Todd Vanderwerff
Luminous and deeply evocative. (ADJECTIVES!)
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