Hard Rain Falling

Front Cover
New York Review of Books, 2009 - Fiction - 308 pages
82 Reviews
Don Carpenter's Hard Rain Falling is a tough as nails account of being down and out, but not quite down for good-a Dostoyevskian tale of crime, punishment, and the pursuit of an ever-elusive redemption. The novel follows the adventures of Jack Leavitt, an orphaned teenager living off his wits in the fleabag hotels and seedy pool halls of Portland, Oregon. Leavitt befriends Billy Lansing, a young black runaway and pool hustler extraordinaire. A heist gone wrong gets Jack sent to reform school, from which he emerges embittered by years of abuse and solitary confinement. In the meantime Billy has joined the bourgeoisie- married, fathered a son, acquired a business and a mistress. But neither Jack nor Billy can escape their misfit pasts, and they will meet again in San Quentin before their strange double drama comes to a violent and revelatory end. Carpenter was a writer of searing honesty and deep compassion. This reprint of his most famous novel reintroduces one of the most distinctive and gripping voices of postwar American literature.

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Nice, strong writing. - Goodreads
I wept. Best prose I've read in 5 years probably. - Goodreads
Very easy to read, but with a lot of depth. - Goodreads
A fine piece of realism writing. - Goodreads
Don Carpenter's writing is astounding. - Goodreads
... a truly gifted writer. - Goodreads

Review: Hard Rain Falling

User Review  - Dan Cavallari - Goodreads

It reminded me of "Last Exit to Brooklyn" but not nearly as gritty. I liked the story but it started to drag in the last third of the book, and the ending was a bit head-scratching. I would recommend reading it, but not necessarily re-reading it. Read full review

Review: Hard Rain Falling

User Review  - Jason - Goodreads

Concise, hard hitting, emotional prose drive this novel. Excellent story for most of the book. IMO, it fades about 240 pages in with a unsatisfying conclusion. 4.5 stars. Read full review

About the author (2009)

Don Carpenter (19311995) was born in Berkeley, California, and grew up on the West Coast. He served in the air force during the Korean War, attended the University of Portland, and received a B.S. from Portland State College and an M.A. from San Francisco State College. Carpenter, his wife, Martha, and their two daughters settled in Mill Valley, near San Francisco, and he became good friends with the local writers Evan Connell and, especially, Richard Brautigan. His first book, Hard Rain Falling, was published in 1966 and was followed by nine other novels as well as several collections of short stories. Carpenter also wrote for the movies and television and spent a good deal of time in Hollywood, the subject of several of his novels. Plagued by poor health in his later years, he committed suicide at the age of sixty-four.

George Pelecanos is the author of sixteen novels and was a writer, story editor, and producer on the HBO series The Wire.

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