Two Americans, two Costa Ricans and two Nicaraguans struggle through the rainy season in a small gated community in La Garita, Costa Rica. Through the rain and budding fruit, they battle through terminal illness, poverty, boredom, ex-husbands, theft, and sexual assault. The Costa Rican air has a way of turning even the most logical mind wild with passion.
Richly developed and with an occasional sense of humor to temper the more serious parts, “What Grows in Heavy Rain” proved a lovely escape for an afternoon. Eliza’s small, quiet retreat provides the backdrop for a host of interesting characters, including Nicaraguan Luis who can fix anything and has bullet wound scars in his back, Americans Clara and Suzie who have their own reasons for escaping to Costa Rica, businessman Richard who probably should do some more walking, the amusingly named Sweater Vest, and more. Their stories intertwine and touch on all your emotions, from laughing as Esperanza discovers things she never knew existed in Richard’s room to sadness over Luis’s wife and his memories of his mother, to disgust at Richard’s reaction to pretty much everything. The writing just flows, sweeping you along as all these individual stories unfold. The characters are all so complex, and just when you think you have a handle on them they reveal something new that changes your perspective. Excellent story, brilliantly written and worth reading more than once.