The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay, New York : St. Martin’s Press, 2018.
An uplifting story of a family rediscovering each other in the midst of personal turmoil and weather chaos. Poignant and touching to read!
Linden Malegarde is a world-renowned photographer who only ever returned to his native France for work and the occasional family get together in Paris. But when his mother insists that no one can miss this year’s family vacation it is in the midst of the longest rain-spell in Paris history. As the Seine bursts its borders and the biggest natural disaster overtakes the city, the Malegarde’s are on pins and needles to keep the peace during their time together.
Paul Malegarde, the patriarch of the Malegarde family and Linden’s father, is an internationally renowned Arborist. He is a quiet man who expresses himself through his work with trees. From a prominent family that had been progressively losing their wealth and standing, Paul’s dedication to trees and the family estate saved everything. Now, a celebration of his 70th birthday in Paris turns into a double medical emergency with Paul having a stroke and Lauren coming down with pneumonia.
Forced to deal with his family crisis, Linden comes to realize that his separation from his family is truly more than physical, as he doesn’t really know his sister, niece or parents that well. Through the rain, evacuations, power outages and looting Linden arranges care for his parents, gets to know his older-than-her-age niece, and becomes a confidant for his sister all while embroiled in his own good and bad memories of Paris and his teenage years.
Told through a combination of Linden’s perspective and flashbacks to a young Paul Malegarde, containing no dialogue whatsoever, Tatiana de Rosnay tells a unique story of family secrets, hidden pain and a family finding each other again. While the lack of dialogue can take a while to get used to, the engrossing story and wealth of description paint an amazing picture and capture the imagination.
Susana Goldman is the Director of the Alamance County Public Library. She can be reached at (336) 513-4753 or firstname.lastname@example.org.