The Rain Before It Falls
By Jonathan Coe
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307388162, 256pp.)
Publication Date: March 10, 2009
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As a young girl, Rosamond is sent to Shropshire to escape the Blitz. Here, in the countryside, she forms a close bond with her older cousin, Beatrix, a young woman haunted by anger and resentment.
Sixty years later, just before her death, Rosamond records her memories on cassettes, addressing them to a distant cousin—a near stranger-named Imogen. As Gill, her beloved niece, listens to these tapes, a heart—stopping family saga is revealed. In this masterful portrait of three generations of woman, Jonathan Coe exposes the profound reserves of hope and loss within the lives of ordinary woman.
Jonathan Coe has received the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, the Prix Médicis Etranger, and, for The Rotters' Club, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for the most original comic writing. He lives in London.
“A triumph . . . from its amazing narrative voice to its satisfying and moving conclusion.” —San Francisco Chronicle“Coe painstakingly builds a psychological mystery evoking the suspense and dread of books such as Ian McEwan's Atonement…. Emotionally overwhelming.” —People “Quiet, elegiac, never straying into sentiment, [The Rain Before It Falls] is perhaps the most spare yet poetic of Coe's novels.” —The Boston Globe“A gripping family drama worthy of Alice Munro.” —Time Out New York "A profoundly moving meditation on misfired relationships, Coe's elegaic seventh novel plumbs the depths of withheld love and emotional austerity among three generations of emotionally dysfunctional women." —James Urquhart, Financial Times"Concentrated and controlled [with] a depth of human understanding...for the admiring reader, the question may be whether The Rain Before It Falls is a diversion for Jonathan Coe, or whether it quietly announces a new direction." —Frances Taliaferro, The Washington Post Book World“A novel told in a simple, decent voice is as welcome as it is rare…Absorbing, graceful and melancholy.” —Karen R. Long, Cleveland Plain-Dealer“Dignified and sure…Skillfully layered and plotted.” —The Atlantic Monthly“A complex intergenerational mosaic of mothers and daughters.” —The New Yorker“Precise and considered, restrained but unblinking…[Coe’s] tensest and most affecting work.” —Matthew Peters, The Boston Globe“Jonathan Coe’s small masterpiece.” —Regina Marler, New York Observer“Coe articulates a fierce, emotional current whose sweep catches the reader and doesn’t let go until the very end.” —Publishers Weekly