Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rain God” as Want to Read:
Rain God
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Rain God

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  370 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Already a Southwestern classic as beautiful, subtle and profound as the desert itself Arturo Islas's The Rain God is a breathtaking masterwork of contemporary literature. Set in a fictional small town on the Texas-Mexico border, it tells the funny, sad and quietly outrageous saga of the children and grandchildren of Mama Chona the indomitable matriarch of the Angel clan wh ...more
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published September 1st 1991 by Turtleback Books (first published September 1984)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rain God, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Rain God

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The only thing I don't like about this novel is that its gay author is already dead. Died in 1991, of complications brought by AIDS, and while at work on just his third novel.

He should have been allowed to finish it and write some more! His was a very unique voice: he has the deft touch of a butterfly, light and subtle, a short, innocent phrase can gently pull your heart from your chest, abruptly but without violence, beating wildly and excitedly in expectation of what comes next. This writer ca
...more
Sheila Rocha
Too short to be an epic novel, too many characters that need to be more fully developed to suffice as a short novel.
There are some good scenes--worth the read--but it lacks completion. Artuto Islas had great promise as a Chicano author, unfortunatley, he passed before reaching his heights.
Kelly-Rae
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-list
The writing was lovely, but there were too many characters that needed describing and The Rain God felt jumbled at times, like it wasn't sure where it wanted to go. I enjoyed reading it, but I probably won't reread the book again. I felt like I was reading a lot of character bios and descriptions and sometimes they linked together, but other times I forgot who was who. The ending, however, is sweet and well-written.
Teresa
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 50-books-2017
Found this book in the street one day about five years ago and finally read it. Almost put it down when there was illness mentioned (after watching my parents die, that's the last thing I want to read in a story). Surprisingly though for me the story drew me in.

The author's portrait is somewhat sad, eerie in a way - he died in 1991 at the age of 53 from complications of AIDS. It is said this story is somewhat autobiographical.
Norma
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mohamed Hagi
When I first picked it up, I thought it was going to be this "same-old" book about a boy coming to age while battling an identity crisis, but even with that the book focused primarily on the drama of the family. It focused on individual characters and gave the story depth and perspective.“The Rain God” by Arturo Islas has a very serious message to the story. There are a lot of references to religions, especially Catholicism. Throughout the story, there are a lot of references to the so called sp ...more
Gladys
When I first picked it up, I thought it was going to be a "same-old" novel about a boy coming to age while battling this division of identity. But even if the novel had pieces of that, it focused more on the drama of the family. It focused on individual characters and gave the story depth and perspective. Possibly the most beautiful thing that carried this novel was the desert. Interpreted in many different ways, the dessert was that little thread that tied everything other, finishing it flawles ...more
Wendy Cotta
This book hits upon several Mexican-American cultural touchstones: Day of the Dead, the role of compadres, the Catholic religion, indigenous bias, machismo, the Mexican Revolution, border life, etc. This was written by an intelligent author who knew how to develop the "otherness" inherent in Mexican-American border life. The Angel clan shows how a modern Mexican-American family life ebbs and flows with painful memories and even more painful, decisions, and it is agonizing to watch. While heralde ...more
Jenna
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was assigned reading for a course, and was a follow up to Faulkner's family saga GO DOWN, MOSES. It was infinitely easier to read (sorry, Faulkner!) and easier to track the family members and associations. At first, getting used to the very natural (but sometimes confusing) flow of information was tricky, but once immersed in the author's style... I found it very easy to go along with it.

The story is wrenching, in parts. It is about family, what they do for and to each other, and the preju
...more
Shawn
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really interesting novel. Essentially a saga surrounding a family, there are a lot of characters and it can be difficult to get an idea of the family tree for the first few chapters (having a chart of some kind included would have helped immensely). Some of the characters aren't as well developed as others, but all of them have stories, and there's really no clear protagonist for the novel overall as each chapter focuses on a different family member.

I enjoyed the author's writing style
...more
J.F. Ramirez
Nov 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a dense little book. I'm reading it for an English class and I was, and still am, surprised by the simple power of the language. It gives the impression of being effortlessly written on the surface, but the actual story is a layered mess of family history spread out over about 80 years and across two countries. Powerful indeed. The only reason that I'm not giving it a four star rating is because it seems like a 180 page distillation of what modern Mexican soap operas, and many American p ...more
Izabela
This book tells the story of the Angel family. A Mexican family living in the United States and attempting to make a better life for themselves. The story is neatly divided into chapters that deal with one part of the large family and, more importantly, a death in the family. Many family members are seen throughout the chapters, including ones that may have died in previous chapters (so this book is no way chronologically organized). It's clear that this book's focus is on the family more so tha ...more
Anasylvia
This isn't a light read, in fact it's pretty depressing, yet it's a good read nonetheless. Deals with death, racial identify, and family in very dark comical way. There are so many characters that are related to each other that it makes it a bit difficult to keep up with them. Nice smooth writing.
Atrackbrown
Feb 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous and affecting book. (I hate the word affecting for the most part. People use it too often, and it's become hackneyed; however, in this case, I truly was affected. I genuinely felt for these characters.)

Maythee
May 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It always make me sad to remember that this writer is no longer with us. He was really, really talented. This at times autobiographical story about family, life in El Paso, and being gay in a traditional Latino culture is a great introduction to Chicana/o lit.
Debbie
Aug 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the book - it takes rereading sections to get the characters straight, but it's totally worth it. I love the picture of a family in all its complexity. All the characters are real people, and I loved getting to know them and seeing them in different lights.
Jossalyn
read in college
Ashley Gerber
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Beautiful--
Melissa
Mexican "Winesburg, OH"
Maha
Jun 25, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i wasn't that crazy about this.. thought it was a bit hard to follow and slow but everyone else seems to love it
Nic
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I almost think that my life would have been different had I read this book as a teen.
Andrew Brandon
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books. Beautifully told.
Philippe Mckay
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
amazing book
Cameron
Jan 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, literary
I love the symbolism of the desert that pervades this book - a tragically beautiful backdrop for this story.
Therese Wiese
I wasn't a big fan of this book. I found it a little hard to follow. But my book discussion group loved it - they felt like it really accurately showed Hispanic life in this time frame.
Angela F-Anon
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captivating, short, stories within stories - the stories that make and shape a family. Interesting and lively.
L.C.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this book for my Hispanic Literature class. I loved it. The character development had me enraptured the whole time.

The ending was sad.
Harry Stewart
rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2017
Lisbeth
rated it liked it
Jul 16, 2013
Daniel
rated it it was amazing
Jan 08, 2008
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • La Maravilla
  • George Washington Gomez: A Mexicotexan Novel
  • The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gómez
  • Mother Tongue
  • Martín & Meditations on the South Valley
  • Zoot Suit and Other Plays
  • Calligraphy of the Witch
  • ... y no se lo tragó la tierra ... and the Earth Did Not Devour Him
  • The Moths and Other Stories
  • Emplumada (Pitt Poetry Series)
  • The Book of What Remains
  • My Tender Matador
  • Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa
  • The Last Generation: Prose and Poetry
  • Old Border Road: A Novel
  • Like Son
  • Icarus in Flight
  • Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »