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Extended Audio Sample History of the Rain: A Novel Audiobook, by Niall Williams Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Niall Williams Narrator: Jennifer McGrath Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2014 ISBN: 9781490656137
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We are our stories. We tell them to stay alive or keep alive those who only live now in the telling. That’s how it seems to me, being alive for a little while, the teller and the told.

So says Ruthie Swain. The bedridden daughter of a dead poet, home from college after a collapse, she is trying to find her father through stories, through generations of family history in County Clare, and through her own writing. Ruthie also turns to the books her father left behind, his library transposed to her bedroom and stacked on the floor, which she pledges to work her way through while she’s still living.

In her attic room, with the rain rushing down the windows, Ruthie writes Ireland, with its weather, its rivers, its lilts, and its lows. The stories she uncovers and recounts bring back to life multiple generations buried in this soil—and they might just bring her back into the world again, too.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A glorious celebration of [Ireland’s] storytelling tradition…Sweep[s] the reader joyfully along.”

    Daily Telegraph (London)

  • “A celebration of books, love, and the healing power of the imagination.”

    Irish Independent (Dublin)

  • "History of the Rain is charming, wise, and beautiful. It is a love letter to Ireland in all its contradictions, to literature and poetry and family. It acknowledges that faith itself is a paradox, both impossible and necessary. And faith carries this novel—faith that stories can save us, that love endures, that acceptance is within reach, and finally, that it is possible to get to the other side of grief.”

    Shelf Awareness 

  • “Destined to be a classic, [History of the Rain] isn’t just the elegy Ruthie offers to the departed but also a love letter to reading and its life-giving powers. [Ruthie’s] voice and narrative remain utterly unique even as she invites comparisons to Jim Hawkins, Ishmael, and hosts of legendary literary narrators.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Williams captures the awe and all of Ireland—its myths and mysteries, miseries and magic—through the pitch-perfect voice of a saucily defiant young woman who has witnessed too much tragedy but who clings devotedly to those she’s lost.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • "[An] Irish family saga stuffed with eccentricity, literature, anecdotes, mythology, humor and heartbreak.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Jennifer McGrath’s exquisite narration brings the lyricism of Williams’ prose to lifes…McGrath’s pleasant Irish brogue transports listeners to the land where the love of story may have been born.”


  • Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize
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About the Author

Niall Williams was born in Dublin and studied at University College Dublin. His work includes stage plays, screenplays, nonfiction, and several novels. His first novel, Four Letters of Love, was an international bestseller, published in more than twenty countries, and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Williams has been twice nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Irish Times Literature Prize. He lives in the west of Ireland.