Here we have a type of novel of which I’d like to see more: an unabashed throwback to the type of high-class, speculatively-charged porn lit that flourished in the late 1960s and early 70s, courtesy of imprints like Essex House and Olympia Press. Obviously those publishers are no longer in business, nor are the types of books they put out too popular these days. In the nineties, at least, there was a brief resurgence of interest in such fare, of which RAIN is a standout example.
Guillermo Bosch was a political dissident who (as stated by RAIN’S author bio) spent a decade in exile in order to avoid prison time. That experience would appear to be reflected in this book, set in a world parched by a seemingly never-ending drought where the novel’s narrator, a guy named Sandro, embarks on a visionary ramble.
This being an “Adult Fairy Tale” (emphasis on Adult), Sandro’s quest involves a lot of microscopically described sexual activity with a large number of women. It also has a hectoring, self-righteous air that’s evident in the oft-pretentious metaphoric proclamations that begin each chapter (example: “Reality is the core of an illusory onion”) and back cover blurb by the late Timothy Leary, who clearly recognized an echo of his own know-it-all proclivities in the text.
For the most part, however, RAIN is quite strong, with robust prose and erotic descriptions that encompass a wide variety of sexual acts without ever repeating themselves. Sandro is a bit of a nonentity, being a largely reactive character, yet the sexually-charged ordeals he’s put through are impressive in their imaginative breadth and real-life resonance.
In the course of this book Sandro is ravished by an insatiable gypsy babe, inducted into a terrorist cell led by a vengeance-obsessed (and very horny) revolutionary, given an abnormally large penis by a supernaturally-endowed sorceress, subjected to horrific torture by corrupt authority figures, and proclaimed the Chosen One who will lead this world out of drought and herald new golden age.
It’s all quite readable, even for those who don’t care for erotic fiction. The book, in fact, might conceivably read fine without the sexual content, although, as with all porn lit, the lasciviousness is quite important to the overall effect.