Friday, November 25, 2011

Charles Martin's "Wrapped in Rain"

Charles Martin’s novel Wrapped in Rain was first published in 2005, with a new edition published in 2006. If anything, the story has gotten better with time.

Tucker Mason, a globetrotting photographer who works under the name of Tucker Rain, has come home to Clopton, Alabama, exhausted after seven years of work after attempting to keep the demons of childhood at bay. Home is Waverly Hall, the edifice his father built to himself, a huge sprawling place filled for Tucker with the memories of human extremes – from the violence and [physical abuse of his wealthy, entrepreneurial, vicious, nasty father Rex Mason to the unconditional love of Miss Ella Rain, the black maid hired by his father to care first for him and later for his half-brother Matthew, known as Mutt.

Rex is now in an Alzheimer’s care facility, Mutt is confined in an institution trying to deal with his array of psychological disorders, including schizophrenia, and Miss Ella has not been dead for seven years from cancer.

Miss Ella may be dead, but she still talks to and with Tucker.

Mutt escapes the institutional home; Tucker runs across his childhood girlfriend, fleeing her own demon of a former husband who physically abused both her and their five-year-old son. Tucker now has to confront what happened to Mutt, what his own relationship with Katie is, and the weight of his own past.

It’s a remarkable story, skillfully woven together in what is one of Martin’s best novels – and that’s saying something because he hasn’t written a bad or mediocre one yet. The reader comes to know Tucker and Mutt, as both men strive to deal with all of what happened to them at the hands of their father.

And there is Miss Ella, one of the most memorable “dead” characters I’ve come across. The reader hears her voice and recognizes its authenticity while at the same time reaching toward her core message for Tucker and Mutt – love trumps all. An it is there that this story largely set in rural Alabama and Jacksonville, Florida becomes both real and universal.

Wrapped in Rain is one powerful novel of love and forgiveness.


Louise Gallagher said...

Ok. So I haven't bought a novel for awhile -- things one sounds like a 'must'.

happy thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

"The Dead Don't Dance" is what i am reading right now.