Monday, September 24, 2018

Desert Rain

by Barbara Kowal (writer), Los Angeles, October 20, 2006


In Wallace Dorian’s intriguing first novella, “Desert Rain,” he takes his heroine Cynthia Ryan into a heart of darkness. But unlike Joseph Conrad’s famous classic, Cynthia’s journey takes her into America’s southwest while making a film of the Kachina cult and the Hopi people, their lore and their prophecies.

“Desert Rain” tackles the age-old dilemma of death, loss, redemption and sacrifice in innovative ways. Using the formula of the journey, Mr. Dorian brings a kind of epic or mythic scope to this contemporary western steeped in Americana while at the same time, sharing with us a haunting, somewhat apocalyptic vision of the future that ends on an optimistic note. He does this through the interesting character of Mary, a half-Hopi coming-of-age eighteen-year old who has not seen her father in nine years.

The story, while told through the weary eyes of Cynthia, an Emmy-award winning documentary filmmaker making a comeback after the tragic suicide death of her teenage son, is also told in part through Mary’s eyes as one who not only represents her culture, but a generation that also seeks it’s own self-identity in a world that has become more technologically complicated and fraught with anxiety and an uncertain future.

In the midst of all this comes Jack Carlson, a mysterious rodeo cowboy drifter who is coming to meet his estranged daughter, Mary. It is through Jack, a kind of guardian angel if you will, who seems to appear from nowhere and whom Cynthia meets that she comes to grips with the ghosts that haunt her as she tries to fulfill her destiny.

This destiny forms the haunting climax of “Desert Rain” yet uplifts the reader with the idea of re-birth or reincarnation and hope for the future on a collective level.

The story, a human drama to be sure, tells the plight of womanhood and the ironic coincidences in our lives that intersect on the road of life. In that sense, “Desert Rain’ turns out to be a love story and a “road story” disguised as a fable, or an ode to all our lives that is at once temporary but not trivial.

Interwoven within the novella itself is a very fine thread that also takes in the ancient lore of the mystical Hopi Indians and the spirituality of the Kachina cult. While not a story about the Hopi per se, the metaphor of the plight of the Native Americans cannot be ignored. I strongly recommend this book. For more info about the book please visit the author's blog:

About the Writer

Barbara Kowal is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on Desert Rain

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By Annonymous on October 20, 2006 at 02:30 am
Is this book recent? I never heard of it. It sounds pretty interesting though...
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By Barbara Kowal on October 20, 2006 at 06:01 am
Hello: Yes. Mr. Dorian told me it is being released from Rain Publishing end of October in paperback. Originally, when I reviewed it, it was in ebook format only. I also had the pleasure of interviewing him since he lives in Los Angeles. There should be a link to publisher from his blog. It's his first novel. Hope that helps and thank you for the comment.
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