The Rain Before It Falls (Vintage Contemporaries)

The Rain Before It Falls (Vintage Contemporaries)

Jonathan Coe

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0307388166

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

As a young girl, Rosamond is sent to Shropshire to escape the Blitz. Here, in the countryside, she forms a close bond with her older cousin, Beatrix, a young woman haunted by anger and resentment.

Sixty years later, just before her death, Rosamond records her memories on cassettes, addressing them to a distant cousin—a near stranger-named Imogen. As Gill, her beloved niece, listens to these tapes, a heart—stopping family saga is revealed. In this masterful portrait of three generations of woman, Jonathan Coe exposes the profound reserves of hope and loss within the lives of ordinary woman.

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more than that, by the sheer inconvenience to which we had put them that night. Beatrix’s duty, you see, was to remain invisible; as was mine, for that matter, once I had arrived at the house. Ivy’s world revolved around herself, around her position in the village, around her social life, her bridge and tennis, and also, more than any of these, around her beloved sons and dogs. Beatrix did not show up on her radar. That is what Beatrix must have meant, I think, when she told me that her mother

already on the verge of splintering for ever into fragments. How peaceful she looks, in her baby ignorance! The eighth picture is quite different from those that I’ve chosen before. It was not taken by me, or Beatrix, or any member of our family. It was given to me, in fact, following a dinner party in London when I was well into my fifties. It features a caravan—another caravan! I am only just beginning to realize what an important part caravans play in this story. There will be other ones,

there. In July there was a letter from Beatrix which contained all sorts of exciting news. Some members of the crew were already starting to arrive, including the actor who was going to play the squire. His name was David Farrar, and Beatrix didn’t really know who he was, but one of her friends had seen him once in a film about nuns (another one: nuns were very popular in those days, cinematically speaking) and thought he was really “dishy” (I believe that was the word), and then just the week

to her, and not to talk about her. So it was quite a concession, on Ruth’s part, to come and see the film with me, but we barely spoke about it afterwards; and when it was shown on television some time later, I did not tell her that I had recorded it, and I did not watch the tape until after her death. Since then I have seen it many times—so many times; it is the only moving record I have of Beatrix at all, the only one where she is not frozen in time. It is precious to me for that reason,

that you had been stressed and agitated following my birthday party, and that it was time to attempt a clean break with your early life. Something he seemed to feel, in his heart of hearts, should have been achieved before. “In any case,” he added. “I have been given a placement abroad, and we will soon be leaving the country.” He did not say what he meant by “abroad,” exactly. I remember that Ruth was working, in those days, in a rented studio a few miles away in East London. On the day I

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