The Rain Ascends
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The Rain Ascends

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  43 ratings  ·  5 reviews
In Joy Kogawa's masterful third novel, a middle-aged woman discovers that her father, a respected Anglican priest, has long been a sexual abuser of boys. Originally published to critical acclaim in 1995, The Rain Ascends has been revisited by the author, with substantive additions to the end of the narrative that bring to fruition the heroine's struggle for forgiveness and...more
Paperback, 217 pages
Published September 17th 1996 by Vintage Canada (first published 1995)
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Daniel Kukwa
As a harrowing tale of sexual abuse that destroys a religious family, it's effective because of the gentle & pastoral manner in which the horror is laid out. That said, there are moments when the self-recrimination of the daughter of the abuser verges on being too overwrought, combined with too much biblical dream-state mental meandering for my taste. In spite of these issues, it manages to be a powerful tale without the skin-crawling vibe of similar novels, such as "The Bishop's Man".
Richard Janzen
A story about guilt, justice, abuse, denial, and judgement. A popular minister has a horrible history of abusing small boys throughout his life. A daughter tries to hide from, and eventual deal with, this complex man/situation. I recently heard Kogawa speak at a conference related to human rights abuses during the Asian-Pacific War...more themes of guilt, justice (lack), abuse, denial, and judgement. Kogawa is an inspiration to me.
I enjoyed the writing, much better than Obasan. That said, the subject matter turned my stomach, I constantly put the book down and walked away for DAYS to get my head around a piece of information. I didn't really connect with or sympathize with the protagonist, found myself wondering if the child of a child abuser would be damaged even if they weren't directly abused? Was that the implication here?
The writing was haunting and beautiful, but the story was desperately difficult to get through, due to the subject matter. I empathized with Millicent but I related more to Eleanor, and therefore found Millicent's behaviour not only difficult to understand but most times, infuriating. Still, Kogawa writes poetically. I loved the metaphor of the lion-king.
Beautifully written - I prefered this book to the much touted Obasan. Generational guilt and coming to terms with it seems to be Kogawa's recurrent theme.
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Joy Kogawa was born in Vancouver in 1935 to Japanese-Canadian parents. During WWII, Joy and her family were forced to move to Slocan, British Columbia, an injustice Kogawa addresses in her 1981 novel, Obasan. Kogawa has worked to educate Canadians about the history of Japanese Canadians and she was active in the fight for official governmental redress.

Kogawa studied at the University of Alberta a...more
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