The Rain Before It Falls
- Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date:
- 05 June 2008
- Modern & Contemporary
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Wow! I really, really loved this book. I read this in the same week as Anne Enright's The Gathering, and my reaction between to the two couldn't have been more different - by the end of this book (which I read really quickly) I was a wreck, deeply moved, whereas The Gatherling just did nothing for more me.Maybe I'm shallow.Whatever, this was the story of three generation of women in a family, told in a very orginal way, as the deceased narator leaves a recording describing twenty photos that summarise here life for a long lost blind younger relative.I always find Coe an easy read, but sometimes a little slight. This though, really got to me, and I'll admit that by the end I was in tears. I really couldn't pin down why it affected me so much that it will mean more to you if you are a parent, maybe it plays on our fear of failure?
I needed a day to process this book after finishing it. This is hands down, one of the most well-written novels I have read in a long time. The character depth is astounding! I felt as though I knew these people, that their story could have been in my family.Jonathan Coe's highly acclaimed "The Rain Before It Falls" is an epic tale of love, loss and above all family. When Gill finds out her Aunt has passed away she is left to deal with her estate. What she finds is a series of tapes that her Aunt Rosamond had recorded with instructions that they be delivered to a girl - now a woman- named Imogen. Gill vaguely remembers Imogen from her Aunt Rosamonds 50th birthday party, but aside from that occasion knows not much about her.Gill is unable to locate Imogen, so she and her daughters go ahead and listen to the tapes. What follows is a description of 20 photographs. How amazing! It was like looking through a photo album and having all the circumstances surrounding those photos told to you.What unfolds is a story of inevitability. A series of events all seemingly linked, and tragic at their very core. What comes from those events is Imogen, a little girl that lost her vision in an awful accident when she was 3 years old.This book is a must read! You will find yourself reading this book rather quickly. The emotions Coe evokes are strong, and you will be compelled to continue on.
The beautifully told story of a family blighted by destructive relationships, principally between mothers and daughters. Sentimental, though in my opinion never crossing the line in to maudelin, the story is told through a series of twenty photographs. In this it is reminisent of Beryl Bainbridge's "Master Georgie", and Stephen Poliakoff's television drama "Shooting The Past".I love Jonathan Coe's writting and this really is a lovely read.
A welcome return to form for Jonathan Coe - I thought the Rotters Club was a bit of a turkey, and avoided its sequel. A lot more conventional than a lot of his other work, this is a look back through the history of a family, and the effects of bad parenting down the generations. Rare, too, for such a touchy-feely book to be written by a male author.Much of the narrative consists of descriptions of old photographs for the benefit of a blind character - I thought this was highly effective, firstly because the reader can no more see them than the intended recipient so we interpret the desceiptions just as she would. Secondly the sequence of photos, depicting significant events in the family's history, mean that the storyline can jump happily from one major event to another, skipping the less significant times in between.The prose is accessible yet highly evocative of time and place. Part of the action even took place down the road from where I live, and whilst it's obviously a work of fiction there is something extra magical about a story that pitches up on your doorstep.
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