The Rain Watcher

The Rain Watcher

by Tatiana de Rosnay

Overview: The triumphant 11th novel from de Rosnay (Sarahís 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 Paulís health ebbs, the river Seine floods the city, relentlessly rising due to driving rain. For Linden, the Paris he knows so well becomes ďhardly identifiable, yet painfully familiar,Ē paralleling his own feelings and memories of his adolescence. Fearing more of the rejection and bigotry heís 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 Malegardesí 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.

Deanna Boe (01/07/19): If you loved this authorís previous books be prepared for a huge disappointment in this one. Sarahís Key and The House I Loved were outstanding; sadly this is not true with this novel. It started out with what I thought was going to be fine, but it didnít take long to know I was going to be disappointed. You have a family meeting in Paris for a celebratory week-end in Paris. The son is flying in from San Francisco. He just so happens to be an extremely famous worldwide photographer and is gay. His sister is coming from London, who is married to an extremely rich drunk who verbally abuses her and her daughter from a previous marriage. They are meeting up with their Mother (American born) and their French Father, who is a very well known expert on trees. It is their parentís 40th anniversary and their Fatherís 70th birthday. It is raining when they arrive and all predictions are that it is going to continue for days to come and perhaps cause a flood worse then ever recorded. And so it goes, it rains, and rains, and rainsÖÖ You read how his parents met, his fatherís famous family, the sonís coming ďout,Ē his sisterís marriage and then to make matters worse his father ends up in the hospital with a stroke and the mother gets pneumonia! All the while it continues to rain! Come on, the father is transported from one hospital to another in a boat! What can I say, donít waste your time on this one. I am sorry that I did.
Rating: *

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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