In spring 1972, Brenda Hudson, wife and mother, disappears while vacationing on Hatteras Island, North Carolina.
The narrative (told in second person, present tense) begins in a beach cottage on remote Hatteras Island, North Carolina, in the midst of a long-standing marital dispute between Peter and Brenda Hudson. Brenda desperately wants to save their children (and herself) from the questionable values of life in suburban Virginia by moving the family to the simpler existence they have found while vacationing on Hatteras. Peter is simply happy where they are. The argument eventually spills out of the bedroom and Brenda storms out of the cottage to walk the beach. And disappears. Peter and the three children eventually survive the harrowing ordeal of losing a wife and mother—and remain on the island. Just as Brenda had wished. Along the way they come to understand some harsh though redemptive truths about an uncaring universe, the cold wind, the hard rain.
Steven Lewis is a current member of the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute faculty, former longtime Mentor at SUNY–Empire State College, and itinerant freelancer. His work has been published widely, from the notable to the beyond obscure, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, LA Times, Ploughshares, Narratively, Spirituality & Health, The Rosicrucian Digest, Road Apple Review … and a biblically long list of parenting publications (7 kids, 16 grandkids). He is also a Contributing Writer at Talking Writing and Literary Ombudsman for 650: Where Writers Read. His books include Zen and the Art of Fatherhood, The ABCs of Real Family Values, Fear and Loathing of Boca Raton, a novel, Take This, a recent chapbook of poems, If I Die Before You Wake, and a generational sequel to Take This, titled Loving Violet.
"Nobody captures the infuriating challenges or transporting joys of fatherhood like Steve Lewis. Written with honesty, humor, and compassion, as well as an abiding love of the remote beauty of Hatteras Island, A Hard Rain is the masterful and compelling story of one man's attempt to reclaim his sense of self and rebuild his family after his wife inexplicably disappears. " — Karen Dukess, The Last Book Party
"What begins—and remains—a poignant love story also immediately becomes a mystery that pulls the reader through to the very end. The family at the heart of A Hard Rain learns to reckon with a change so profound that every member is affected, as well as every reader. Lewis tells a story that moves us all, well beyond even the last word of his brilliant novel. " — David Masello, author, playwright, cultural critic, Executive Editor of Milieu magazine
"Forget what you know about motherhood as you dive in to Steve Lewis' A Hard Rain. He places you skin to skin with a family wading through grief and mesmerizes you with prose that makes you feel each carefully placed comment, each grain of North Carolina sand beneath your feet. I have seldom read such beautiful writing or felt so taken by a group of characters. " — Annabel Monaghan, columnist and author of the Digit books and Does This Volvo Make My Butt Look Big?
"Steven Lewis has the uncanny ability to write about your life without actually knowing you. In his latest novel, an unrelenting hard rain falls on the Hudson family. A rain shrouded in mystery that leaves each member scanning the horizon for a glimmer of sunlight. A reprieve from the squall of their lives. A beautifully observed story of a family's search for understanding on an island with few answers, rich in heartbreaking poetic detail, by an incredibly gifted writer of whom I couldn't be more jealous. " — Peter Steinfeld, Screenwriter, Drowning Mona, Be Cool, 21