Book Review

The Rain Watcher

Rating:

I didn’t read Sarah’s Key, but I had heard praise enough that when I saw the author had a new book out, I thought I’d give it a try.  I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t as quiet a novel as this.

The Rain Watcher is a family drama, telling the story of mother, father, daughter, and son, gathered for a family reunion to celebrate the father’s 70th birthday.  Each of these four family members has a life hidden from the others; those secrets and fears are little by little exposed.  There is no great mystery, no great intrigue, no great emotional twist.  Revelations are more sympathetically-rendered than unexpected.  But I did care about the characters, so listenedon and on.  At no point was I drawn to tears.  Nor did I understand the ending.  Or the title.  I’m sorry.  Maybe someone can explain either of those to me?

And yet I’ve given this book four stars – because it is beautifully written.  The setting is contemporary Paris at a time of unprecedented rainfall that results in catastrophic flooding, and the description of this is exquisite.  The author has an amazing imagination and a masterful way with words.  The reader can see, smell, feel Paris as the water rises higher and higher – can see, smell, feel the angst of each of the characters.  Even cameo characters are described in a simple but picturesque way.

I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator was a delight.

That said, for me The Rain Watcher is about the journey, rather than the destination.