Past, Present, and Future Collide on a Breathtaking Journey

by Víctor del Árbol
translated by
Lisa Dillman

   In ABOVE THE RAIN (Other Press Paperback Original), Victor del Árbol weaves two seemingly disparate narratives: a late-in-life road trip across Europe, and a woman’s fight for survival in Sweden’s criminal underbelly. He draws readers into his complex, gritty world, unspooling threads of the past and present to reconstruct the history of violence that links all of them. More than just a work of suspense, ABOVE THE RAIN examines the nature of evil, asking how those who act from within the depths of human cruelty justify themselves, and what motivates the few who are willing to fight them. I wanted to be sure you’ve had a chance to consider it for Spring or Summer reads.
        Sweden: Yasmina, the daughter of Moroccan immigrants, is beholden to Sture, a powerful drug trafficker. She’s ordered to seduce the Deputy Commissioner, an older man who’s investigating a series of grisly murders. Trapped between increasing pressure from Sture, and life at home with her authoritarian, abusive grandfather, Yasmina plots her escape. 

          In their nursing home in Cadiz, Helena and Miguel form an unlikely friendship, both bored with the monotonous days. Helena is still haunted by the man who destroyed her family sixty years ago. Miguel, living with the ghosts of his father and his wife, is terrified that his mind is failing him. Rejecting the notion that it’s ‘too late’ for anything to change, the pair depart for the journey of their lives to finally face their dark pasts, and soon learn how much they’re willing to risk to find answers.

Del Árbol challenges us to question what justice looks like, and the destruction that can come from seeking it. And in its unflinching portrayal of aging and disease, ABOVE THE RAIN is a searing indictment against a world that views the elderly as a burden, and of a society that puts expiration dates on people’s relevance or potential. 


Víctor del Árbol was born in Barcelona in 1968 and was an officer of the Catalan police force from 1992 to 2012. As the recipient of the Nadal Prize, the Tiflos Prize, and as the first Spanish author to win the Prix du Polar Européen, he has distinguished himself as a prominent voice in Spanish literature.

 Del Árbol’s books have garnered wide praise: A Million Drops (2018) was a Washington Post (“a dizzying multigenerational drama”) and CrimeReads pick of the year, and an Amazon Best of the Month selection; Breathing Through the Wound (2020) was a New York Times Globetrotting Selection, and a “Best of the Year Pick” from CrimeReads and PopMatters


Lisa Dillman teaches in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She has translated a number of Spanish and Latin American writers. Some of her recent translations include Rain Over MadridAugust, October; and Death of a Horse, by Andrés Barba, and Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera.


Above the Rain is an exceptional novel about the present’s inability to deny the past, a clear-eyed examination of the cultural clashes in modern Europe. It’s also a novel about love, the different kinds thereof and how they offer their own various sorts of healing and redemption.” —Scott Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest and That Left Turn at Albuquerque

With its large cast of characters, shifting timeline and multiple perspectives, this is a work of deep complexity. But del Arbol, a gifted storyteller, keeps the pages turning even as he probes the dark, compromised souls of his characters — and the fractured families they come from.” —CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Lloyd Sachs


Publisher ‏ : ‎ Other Press
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1635429951
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1635429954

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