Monday, 30 January 2012

Thoughts: The Rain before it Falls by Jonathan Coe

I've had this book sitting on my shelf for ages, a beautiful hardcover still wrapped in cellophane. I'm glad I finally cracked its spine.

A family secret finally revealed in some beautiful prose is sometimes all a good books needs. Rosamond records a story for Imogen, her missing grand-niece, because she is the only one who can still tell Imogen's story, which reaches back till second world war, when Beatrix, Imogen's grandmother and Rosamond were still children. Beatrix didn't experience motherly love, which soon led her in the arms of the first available men she met and made her emotionally cold towards her own daughter, too. This paved the way for an awful incident which took Imogen's eyesight. Rosamond lifts the family secret with great empathy, also describing wonderful moments of Imogen's life, trying to rouse apprehension for an incomprehensible deed.

I very much enjoyed reading this book. I picked it up whenever I had a spare minute. I liked the way the story is told. Rosamond describes photographs of long-forgotten events and people to blind Imogen and reminisces in memories that come up looking at the pictures. The story develops along the succession of the photographs, adding details with every picture. The mood is melancholic and calm and very personal. The family secret is not that shocking rather than sad, but this did not lessen the reading experience for me. It was more the motivations behind it, that keeps the reader reading.

I'd recommend the book to people who liked Atonement by Ian McEwan or The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell.


  1. I didn't read Atonement, but didn't particularly like the movie. However, this sounds like it might be a good book. Thanks for the review.

  2. Ah.. yes.. that one often makes me want to read it.. simply adore the cover.. Thank you for this great review.. (Yes, I loved THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX..)