Racing With The Rain. Novel by Ken Puddicombe


These questions are essential to the theme of Ken Puddicombe’s new novel JUNTA.

Expatriate Marcus Jacobson wants to make a difference on newly independent Saint Anglia where he is taking up a professorship but there are forces that will test his expectation. The military, under General Marks stages a coup, and Hurricane David is heading for the island.

Marcus also has skeletons in his closet. He’s descended from the Planter Class that once owned slaves on the island. He’s torn—does he have the right to get involved in the politics of the island or should he be a bystander?

The people Marcus encounters will determine his attitude to the Junta. These people include: Melanie, a student who thinks force should be used to restore democracy; Father Bert, a priest who believes in Liberation Theology; Clarence Baptiste, editor of the local newspaper who will use the media to oppose; The Reverend who runs a dirty tricks campaign for the Junta; Kentish, an islander who is a pacifist by nature and believes that events should run their course. Marcus finds himself being inexorably drawn towards Melanie and when she takes matters into her own hands, the decision is made. But, the Junta is determined to hold on to power at all cost.


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Racing With The Rain. Review by Frank Birbalsingh


Professor Emeritus, English Literature, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Racing With The Rain is the first novel of Guyanese born Ken Puddicombe who, since 1971, has lived in Canada where he works as an accountant. Racing offers a fictional version of political events during a turbulent period, from the 1960s to the 1980s, in the history of Guyana, formerly British Guiana. The novel is a roman a clef, one in which people and events may be identified through fictional names assigned to particular organizations, individuals or places, for example, “Liberty House” for actual Freedom House, “Arawak Hotel” for Carib Hotel, “Kingsley” for Sydney King, and “Jack Hill” for Kelshall.

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What Readers Say About Racing With The Rain

“Characters caught between deeply conflicting loyalties are driven by the politics of the dank, tropical atmosphere of a British Caribbean colony, half a century ago, only to find themselves trapped in a drama whose tragic effects still haunt them and their fellow Guyanese.” –Frank Birbalsingh author of Novels and The Nation: Essays in Canadian Literature.

“Kenneth Puddicombe’s RACING WITH THE RAIN is a gritty look at the politics of a nation and within a family that drive a young man from his home and from his country. Gripping and hard-hitting, this is a novel you won’t want to miss.”  —Karen Fenech author of Gone

“From the first page…the characters come alive in…creating enough tension to want the reader to thirst for more. As a fellow author, I am impressed with this author’s writing style which left me chomping at the bit to read beyond the first chapter.” –ENRICO DOWNER, author of There Once Was a Little England, a story about man’s obsession with colour and class in colonial Barbados.

By Kat Lager

Amazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: Racing With The Rain (Kindle Edition)

I love the author’s use of descriptive language. The setting and characters jump off the pages of the book.

Racing With the Rain has many layers to it. It examines family conflict, political upheaval and personal turmoil. The reader follows the main character, Carl Dias, through a journey where he discovers what really matters in life.

By bazp

Format:Paperback from Amazon

I completed this novel in 3 days for the turning of every page drove me deeper into the story, politics and human side of the characters. The author’s vision and story were well told and a remarkable representation of colonialism. Highly recommended.


This book was quite a journey for me!  Being married to a Guyanese for almost 40 years now, I could relate to many of Carl’s childhood adventures. They rang really true to Guyanese life from my husband’s experiences, and especially from stories my mother-in-law related to me over the years. Your book helped to connect the dots. In particular, I learned much about Guyanese history after Independence that I was not aware of.

This is a very informative book that all children of Guyanese heritage should read. It would help them better understand why their parents think the way they do; the challenges they faced in their childhood and the hardships in finding their way out of Guyana.

I enjoyed your book. You are a descriptive writer who paints well with pen in hand. Your story had a bit of everything….suspense, humor, history, and romance. Most of your main characters have some redeeming qualities about them. I like that.

Josie Angod


I finished Racing with the Rain this morning and WOW, what a great book. It kept me wondering what was going to happen next, full of suspense, reality of life and I got a bit of a history lesson. Thanks Ken and I hope you are working on another one!

A masterpiece!! Mar 9 2013

By Ryguy

Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase

Racing with the Rain immerses the reader in a captivating plot, that leaves them scrambling to finish the current page and eagerly turn towards the next one. A must read for everyone!

Memorable April 25 2013

By Shopaholic – Published on

Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase

Racing With the Rain in a memorable novel about family, human relations and life in Guyana pre and post independence. Well written, the author draws you to the relatable character of Carl Dias, a man who has to come to grips with his past, present and future while visiting a country he once fleed. Fast moving, poignant, touching, this story is well told and many generations of Guyanese immigrants now living abroad will come to appreaciate the insight this fiction provides into the realities of what their parents and grandparents endured during the struggle for independence in Guyana.

Racing With The Rain: A fast moving rain cloud in an otherwise clear sky triggers a sudden downpour and people run for cover. Is it possible to outrun the rain? Can one ever really escape the past?

on December 28, 2014
A gripping page-turner. Puddicombe blends the past and present, creating tension and greater appreciation of what is at stake when a son returns home to his birthplace to bury his father with whom he has had a troubled relationship. The connection with my own return to Guyana after my father’s death was immediate and heartfelt. A story that brings to the fore the conflicting relationships between a father and his sons.

on April 17, 2014
Thanks for writing this novel and revealing what was silenced and distorted for so long. A gripping story and a real page turner for someone who was too young to understand all the hatred and violence of the 1960s in Guyana.

on June 11, 2013
Very well written,the author seems to have been very thorough in his research. Unfortunately though it brought back long forgotten memories of a very scary time in Guyana, it was also nostalgic,taking me back to other earlier happy & carefree days. Yes, it was a race with the rain, homes open to let in the fresh air had to be quickly shuttered before it came clattering down onto the zinc roofs. Good reading.

on November 10, 2012
Ken Puddicombe’s intriguing novel takes us back to a time when British Guiana (now Guyana) and the wider Caribbean were the pawns in the on-going conflicts between colonial powers. The will of the people and the welfare of the common man mattered little in that time of Cold War rivalry. The story’s characters come alive from the very first page and I attribute this to the author’s gripping writing style. The tensions among the members of a Guyanese family are palpable. They reverberate from the beginning of the story when it is seen that the government’s deep-seated corruption has caused a family to flee the country and has literally torn them apart.
This book will appeal to anyone who is interested in the interplay between powerful nations to the detriment of a relatively small country.
I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

on February 17, 2017
“Racing with the Rain” portrays a vivid account of life in Guyana and has fired my deep longing to visit the country. The writer has captured the atmosphere and mood of the ordinary people and their interaction with the political issues of that time. I could not put the book down ; it was absorbing right to the end. Ken is a talented and fiercely observant writer with a sensitive understanding of human emotions and I felt this was a very compelling story.

“Book Review: “Racing With The Rain” by Ram Angod

In his debut novel, “Racing With The Rain”, Ken Puddicombe fictionalizes his personal experiences growing up in British Guiana within a context of racial conflict, turbulent colonial politics, boyhood exploits, and divisive family tensions. The principal character, Carl Diaz, reluctantly returns to his native land to attend his father’s funeral and through a perceptual lens tinted by 16 years of cultural exposure in Toronto, he reflects on his life in the British colony. Puddicombe holds the reader’s interest in his novel through gruesome national politics, humour, colourful characters, family intrigues, some final suspense, and simply by humanizing his several sub-plots in ways most of us can relate to. “Racing With the Rain” is a good read, the kind of stuff you’d enjoy curled up in your sofa on a rainy day!

—Ram Angod, World Traveller. Existentialist.

Racing With The Rain. A novel by Ken Puddicombe


“Racing with the Rain evokes…personal consequences of an historic political conflict in Guyana, during the Cold War…”  –Frank Birbalsingh author of Novels and The Nation: Essays in Canadian Literature.

Racing With The Rain: A fast moving rain cloud triggers a downpour and people run helter-skelter. Is it possible to outrun the rain? Can one really escape the past?

It is 1980. Guyanese born and Canadian naturalized Carl Dias’ life is unraveling. Separated from his wife and two children, he now receives news that his father, Augusto has died in Guyana.

Conflict has marked Carl’s early life. Back in British Guiana, he was a member of the left-wing ruling party. This led to a clash with Augusto, a businessman with political ambitions in the Conservative party. Adding to the conflict: Carl had taken a scholarship to Cuba, creating a great rift between father and son.

It’s been sixteen years since Carl left. His return will reignite memories of the collapse of the political and social fabric of the colony. In the background was CIA intervention and the Kennedy administration applying pressure on the British.

On his return to Guyana, Special Branch interrogates Carl. They’re trying to flush out people connected to a North American based group of expats aiming to free their homeland. Top members of this group were caught and arrested in a joint RCMP/FBI operation. Carl fails to disclose the connection he once had with the group.

Will Carl’s past catch up with him? Will Special Branch discover his links to the expats? These and other threats will determine whether Carl is allowed to leave the country and be reconciled with his family…