Book Review: The Rain God by Arturo Islas

May 2, 2023


The Rain God by Arturo Islas is a family saga of a Mexican family escaping the 1911 revolution to the United States. Mr. Islas was an English professor who focused on the Chicano cultural experience, he passed away in 1991.

  • 192 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 006305132X

Book Review: The Rain God by Arturo IslasMy rat­ing for The Rain God — 5
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Even though The Rain God by Arturo Islas is short, it is very complex and layered. I don’t remember where I got the idea to read it, it could have been mentioned in one of the books I’ve read, or an on-line article – nevertheless, I’m glad I found it.
Frankly, this book should be more well known.

The core of this book is family dynamics, which doesn’t always mean blood relations. There are friends who are considered as much as a family as anyone else. This is especially true when you are in an immigrant community in a small town.

Attempting assimilation and hate crimes are part of life in this book. Sadly it’s not just the experience of the Mexican community so these themes, and others, can certainly be transposed to other communities.

I was especially fascinated by complicated relationships the family has with its past and its identity. One of the characters, a police officer, lives a dual life. On the one hand he is trying to be a part of the police force, on the other some of his family sees him as a coward for not taking revenge on a murder.
This type of dual experiences is not uncommon among many immigrants regardless of a place of origin.

The author shows the duality and hypocrisy of religion. The family are, mostly, devout Catholics but do not shy away from “spirits”, as well as affairs. My only conclusion is that he tried to show us how the Mexican culture, or the macho Latin mindset, can encompass two contradictory beliefs, and truly believe them.
Again, not just a Mexican/Latin ability as we can see around the world.


The Angel family is living on the border of Texas and Mexico. They are trying to assimilate themselves without losing their Mexican identity. Through personal triumph and tragedy, the family experiences life, love, and lost.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I bought this book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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