Newly widowed, Martha Cassidy has returned to a remote cottage in a virtually abandoned village on the west coast of Ireland for reasons even she is uncertain of. Looking out her window towards the dramatic rise of the Skellig Islands across the water, Martha recalls the losses in her life: Brendan, her itinerant husband and charming curator, and her ten-year-old son, Bruno, who met an untimely death twenty years earlier. Alone on the windswept headland, surrounded by miles of cold sea, the past closes in.
As the days unfold, she finds herself drawn into a standoff between the entrepreneur Eugene Riorden and local hill farmer Paddy O’Connell. As the tension between them builds to a crisis that leaves Paddy in hospital, Martha develops a relationship with Colm, a talented but much younger musician and poet – roughly the same age that Bruno would have been if he’d lived. Caught between its history and its future, the Celtic Tiger reels with change, and Martha faces choices that will change her life forever.
Rainsongs conjures the rugged beauty of County Kerry’s coastline and the inner landscapes of its characters in richly poetic and painterly language, moving effortlessly between the lives of people and the life of the terrain; between the forces that shape character and those that shape the world. It unfolds as a compelling tale of grief, art, and the fragile, quiet ways in which time and place can offer a measure of redemption.
‘For her keen and gracious insights into the relentless grieving process, for her transcendent evocation of the rough charm and enduring splendor of Ireland’s rural treasures, Hubbard deserves a place in the literary pantheon near Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright, and William Trevor.’
Carol Haggas, American LIbrary Associaion Booklist
‘A compelling story, freighted with heartbreak and loss’
‘A beautifully-written and evocative novel about grief and greed, art and life, isolation and emotion’
‘A lyrical evocation of Ireland’s fragile, ancient coastline reveals a poet’s sensibility. This multi- layered story of love and loss, of a woman ‘erased by grief’, who finds solace in the heart of a community that is threatened from within, is exceptionally moving. This book will stay with you.’
French edition (Le Chant de la Pluie)
Mercure de France