Four Letters of Love by Niall Williams will be well known to many of you, and some fifteen years after reading it I still have the 'ghost' of the book in my mind. In April - appropriately, season of showers - comes his next novel, History of the Rain, and I love the sound of it:
"Bedbound in her attic room beneath the falling rain, in the margin between this world and the next, Plain Ruth Swain is in search of her father. To find him, enfolded in the mystery of ancestors, Ruthie must first trace the jutting jaw lines, narrow faces and gleamy skin of the Swains from the restless Reverend Swain, her great-grandfather, to grandfather Abraham, to her father, Virgil - via pole-vaulting, leaping salmon, poetry and the three thousand, nine hundred and fifty eight books piled high beneath the two skylights in her room, beneath the rain.
The stories - of her golden twin brother Aeney, their closeness even as he slips away; of their dogged pursuit of the Swains' Impossible Standard and forever falling just short; of the wild, rain-sodden history of fourteen acres of the worst farming land in Ireland - all pour forth in Ruthie's still, small, strong, hopeful voice. A celebration of books, love and the healing power of the imagination, this is an exquisite, funny and moving novel in which every sentence sings."
Having read just one chapter, it's no doubt wholly premature of me to pronounce, but on the strength of that beginning I'd say this is a special book.
Edited to add: I was right!