The Man who Rained

“Such an imaginative novel, written with such attention to words, and such a sense of wonder, that those who savour such skills will find themselves thoroughly transported. I have not read anything like it for a long while.” – The Observer
“A wonderful, atmospheric novel that reads like an adult fairytale.” – Red

From the Desmond Elliott prize-winning author of The Girl with Glass Feet comes another magical novel of love, discovery and nature.

When Elsa’s father is killed in a tornado, all she wants is to escape – from New York, her job, her boyfriend – to somewhere new, anonymous, set apart.

For years she has been haunted by a sight once seen from an aeroplane: a tiny, isolated settlement called Thunderstown. Thunderstown has received many a pilgrim, and young Elsa becomes its latest – drawn to this weather-ravaged backwater, this place rendered otherworldly by the superstitions of its denizens.

In Thunderstown, they say, the weather can come to life.  When Elsa meets Finn Munro, an outcast living in the mountains above the town, she wonders whether she has witnessed just that.  For Finn has an incredible secret: he has a thunderstorm inside of him.

Not everyone in town wants happiness for Elsa and Finn.  As events turn against them, can they weather the tempest – can they survive at all?

The Man who Rained is a work of lyrical, mercurial magic and imagination, a modern-day fable about the elements of love.


“Shaw can write, there’s no doubt about that, and he has found the perfect setting for his folkloric prose in his fairy-tale creation, bringing it, in all its strangeness, to quiveringly tangible life, saturating his story with the weather … The Man who Rained is delicately crafted, just like its predecessor, its story haunting and thoroughly, charmingly different.”  – The Sunday Times
“Some passages are breathtaking, particularly the precise, unsentimental details of a goat’s dismemberment and an account of a violent attack – Shaw knows how to balance beauty and terror.” – The Guardian
“The Man Who Rained is ultimately a tale of liberation and impossible love and it’s this, along with the Oxford-based author’s economical yet enchanting way with words, that works the real magic here.” – The List
“Like all the best olden tales, Shaw gives us a fable. It is a love story. It is thought experiment about what the world might be, if it were not what we think it is. It is a story about family, the ties that bind and whether they should. It is about superstition and faith and the difference between the two. It is a story about learning from history and hanging on to the past and the difference between the two. It is about fear, and power … It’s fabulous: the most engaging, uplifting and surprisingly emotional thing I’ve read in a good while.” – The Book Bag
AliThe Man who Rained