This piece in Salon about how rain is often used in literature and film to create or punctuate a mood, advance the story, or simply provide an arresting backdrop to the goings-on, tickled me because it immediately led me to run a mental list of rain-filled books and movies. And, sure enough, rain as metaphor and plot device is everywhere, in ways big and small.
Of course, I’ve been railing for years about weather.com writing, imploring authors not to open their work with long descriptions of weather or geographic conditions. While I get how irresistible it is to set about capturing in words/images the awesome power of nature, very few authors can make non-catastrophic meteorological events compelling over a large span of narrative.
That said, there’s no denying that weather is great for atmosphere (tautological pun intended). From the foggy moors of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, to the feverish heat of Lily King’s Euphoria, skillful depictions of weather conditions help make literary works unforgettable. Many years later, you may not remember other details of a story, but you probably recall the sense of humid discomfort in the bayous or the crispness of a spring day in southern France.
What are your favorite weather sequences? And, which authors do you feel use weather most effectively?