Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana De Rosnay

I hate to repeat the words that appear on an ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy). But, Tatiana De Rosnay's latest novel, The Rain Watcher, truly is heartbreaking. It's an emotional book about one family, caught up in their own secrets at a time of disaster. It's also beautiful.

At thirty-five, Linden Malegarde is the youngest in his family. An internationally known photographer, he's witness to his family's reunion. His mother, Lauren, insists that only the immediate family meets up in Paris. Linden and his older sister, Tilia, are joining their father, Paul, and Lauren. It's a celebration of Paul's seventieth birthday, and Paul and Lauren's fortieth wedding anniversary. But, the celebration doesn't come about exactly as planned.

It's been raining for two weeks in Paris when the family arrives in January. There's no sign of it letting up, and Lauren is upset that all of her plans are falling apart. While Linden and Tilia worry about their father's appearance, Lauren brushes it off. By the time Paul collapses in a restaurant, Lauren herself is falling ill. While Tilia tends to their mother, it's Linden who accompanies Paul in the ambulance. And, it's Linden, who loves Paris, who is the witness to the city's collapse, and his father's.

Paris is flooding. Museums are shut down. Metro stations are closing. Everyone is talking about the Zouave statue in the Seine. Flood precautions have been taken because the waters on the statue are only going higher. The neighborhoods around Paris have been hit hard by the floods. Tourists have been asked to leave, but Linden, who spent his teen years living with his aunt in Paris, knows he can't leave. He can't desert his father, his family, or the city itself.

As the city floods, the Malegarde family is also flooded with memories, and they're not happy ones. This family who seldom hugged, who grew apart, has secrets. As the city breaks down, the family starts to reveal their failings and their losses to Linden. "It seems to him he has become a sentinel, on the lookout for the inevitable aquatic invasion, watching over his father, over the rain, over the entire city."

Linden Malegarde may view his father, a man famous for saving trees, as the heart of the family. But, it's Linden himself who becomes the heart of the story. He's been hurt in the past, and fled the family home because of the community. His mother hurt him. He suffered from the loss of his beloved aunt. But, Linden has also been saved by people who love him. And, that love is enough to keep him moving forward in this beautiful, tragic story.

The Rain Watcher is a powerful, sometimes brutal story of Paris during a disaster. It's also the story of the Malegarde family, a family with its own story, sometimes brutal. But, like Paris, they struggle to overcome tragedy. De Rosnay's The Rain Watcher is heartwrenching at times, but worth the struggle.

Tatiana De Rosnay's website is tatianaderosnay.com

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana De Rosnay. St. Martin's Press, 2018. ISBN 9781250099136 (hardcover), 240p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Gram said...

I have some of her books on my t-b-r list, bur have never gotten to then, maybe I will get to this one...on a sunny summer day!

Lesa said...

Yes, it's not exactly a book for rainy, chilly days, Gram.