Title: Two Years, No Rain
Author: Shawn Klomparens
Publication: Delta Trade/Random House; 6/23/09
Rating: 3 BOOKMARKS
Weatherman-turned-children’s television host Andy Dunne has been living a literal and figurative 580-day drought, with no relief in sight.
Shawn Klomparens’s Two Years, No Rain, tells the story of Andy Dunne, a man in his early 30s who, to borrow one of his weather terms, is a ‘desiccated’ husk. His personal life and job reporting weather for a satellite radio station parallel the parched weather and landscape of San Diego.
Andy excels at repressing emotions and spends a good deal of the novel denying himself the right to the most basic and primal emotions. He buries grief over personal loss, ignores the pain of his wife’s infidelities, stands idly by as their marriage disintegrates, and patently ignores his health.
Andy applies for and gets a job that propels him to television fame. The job opens the door to a trip to Hong Kong and the unburdening of Andy’s guilt and regrets. While on the island, a typhoon strikes and, ironically, the weatherman isn’t conscious to see a good part of it.
Relationships, loss, avoidance, regret, and infidelity are strong themes in this novel and each is weaved throughout. Klomparens pens a realistic world for Andy with well-developed friends and family, though I thought the characterization of Andy’s love interest, Hillary, was a bit soft. I learned more about his niece than I did about Hillary. Their relationship was based mostly on hundreds of text messages and illicit late-night phone calls because of their respective marriages.
After Andy’s marriage falls apart, Hillary’s marriage to Jason deteriorates. It’s no coincidence that Hillary’s husband shares a name with Andy’s twin brother–Klomparens uses Hillary’s Jason as Andy’s foil–reflecting the unspoken competitive relationship that Andy and his twin shared.
The novel is chock full of symbols and metaphors—stormy weather, withering plants that flourish with proper care and attention, the text messages between Andy and Hillary, dry weather, an empty house, ‘new’ and ‘old’; page has depth and more to offer than meets the eye.
Darkly humorous, I enjoyed several laughs during the novel. Ultimately, Two Years, No Rainis really a quest on which Andy struggles to finds peace with his losses, regrets, career, and relationships–only then can the literal and figurative rain come. This would be a great read for a book club and there’s a discussion guide on Klomparens’s website.
Thanks to Lisa and Trish at TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this novel!