The Rain Watcher

The Rain Watcher

by Tatiana de Rosnay

Overview: The triumphant 11th novel from de Rosnay (Sarah’s Key) follows the unraveling of long pent-up frustrations within the Malegarde family against the backdrop of a natural disaster. Linden Malegarde, a Franco-American photographer, travels to Paris to celebrate the 70th birthday of his father, Paul. But when Paul suffers a stroke and is hospitalized, Linden decides to stay indefinitely. As Paul’s health ebbs, the river Seine floods the city, relentlessly rising due to driving rain. For Linden, the Paris he knows so well becomes “hardly identifiable, yet painfully familiar,” paralleling his own feelings and memories of his adolescence. Fearing more of the rejection and bigotry he’s experienced throughout his life, Linden, who is in his late 30s, has yet to come out as gay to his father or introduce him to his longtime partner, Sacha. During the days of unexpectedly close quarters with his father, mother, and sister, Linden begins to open up and discovers that each family member has secrets and emotional wounds just as intense as his own. Throughout, de Rosnay stokes the Malegardes’ histories with raw and powerful reminisces and gorgeous descriptions. This is an emotional tour de force and a thoughtful, deliberate examination of personal tragedy and the possibility of redemption.

Carole Zwicker (11/15/18): What a joy to read a family drama written by Tatiana de Rosnay. The Rain Watcher follows the Malegarde family who meet in Paris to celebrate the 70th birthday of Paul, the patriarch. The weekend was arranged by his spouse, Lauren, to gather together their adult children, Tilia and Linden. The reunion unfolds as the river Seine is bursting its banks and threatening to flood the City of Light. There is a sense of foreboding throughout due to the constant rain and the dysfunctional relationships of the Malegardes. Paul, an arborist, has a better understanding of trees than of his family. Lauren wants the weekend to be a success for all. Talia, the daughter, has problems of her own at home in London and Linden, the son, left the Malegarde home as a teenager and never really went back. And everyone has secrets of their own. The Rain Watcher reminds us that all families have issues. An entrancing read.
Rating: *****

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