The Character of Rain: A Novel

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Overview

The Japanese believe that until the age of three, children, whether Japanese or not, are gods, each one an okosama, or "lord child." On their third birthday they fall from grace and join the rest of the human race. In Amelie Nothomb's new novel, The Character of Rain, we learn that divinity is a difficult thing from which to recover, particularly if, like the child in this story, you have spent the first two and a half years of life in a nearly vegetative state.
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The Character of Rain: A Novel

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Overview

The Japanese believe that until the age of three, children, whether Japanese or not, are gods, each one an okosama, or "lord child." On their third birthday they fall from grace and join the rest of the human race. In Amelie Nothomb's new novel, The Character of Rain, we learn that divinity is a difficult thing from which to recover, particularly if, like the child in this story, you have spent the first two and a half years of life in a nearly vegetative state.
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Editorial Reviews

Elle
richly depicting [a] wondrous secret universe.
Kirkus Reviews
The ninth novel from the prolific French author of such first-rate books as Fear and Trembling (2001) and The Stranger Next Door (1998) is autobiographical fiction with a difference. It relates, from cunningly varied viewpoints, the first three years in the life of Amelie, born in 1970 to a Belgian consul and his wife living in Japan. Initially a "tube" that only ingests, digests, and excretes, the infant gradually develops taste (for chocolate, specifically) and sensitivity, and grows into unillusioned awareness that her status as a pampered "goddess" represents a paradise she'll soon have to leave. Witty and original. Perhaps the best yet from one of Europe's finest younger writers.
From the Publisher

Praise for The Character of Rain

“Nothomb potently distills from the state of infancy the intensity of beginnings, the precariousness, the trailed clouds of glory...that grow indistinct as childhood approaches.”--Richard Eder, The New York Times

“Witty and original. Perhaps the best yet from one of Europe’s finest young writers.”--Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Fear and Trembling

“Elegantly written, Nothomb demonstrates a shrewd understanding of the intricate ways Japanese relationships are made and spoiled.”--The New York Times Book Review

“Nothomb updates the age-old divide between East and West in this delectable little book.”--O Magazine

“Amélie Nothomb adds humor, the ingredient most often missing in other writers from France of her generation, the ingredient most difficult to translate.--The Los Angeles Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312286002
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/20/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.94 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Belgian by nationality, Amélie Nothomb was born in Kobe, Japan, and currently lives in Paris. She is the author of eight novels, translated into fourteen languages, including most recently Fear and Trembling which won the Grand Prix of the Académie Française and the Prix Internet du Livre.

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Reading Group Guide

The Japanese believe that until the age of three, children, whether Japanese or not, are gods, each one an okosama, or "lord child." On their third birthday they fall from grace and join the rest of the human race. In Amelie Nothomb's new novel, The Character of Rain, we learn that divinity is a difficult thing from which to recover, particularly if, like the child in this story, you have spent the first tow and a half years of life in a nearly vegetative state.

"I remember everything that happened to me after the age of two and one-half," the narrator tells us. She means this literally. Once jolted out of her plant-like , tube-like trance (to the ecstatic relief of her concerned parents), the child bursts into existence, absorbing everything that Japan, where her father works as a diplomat, has to offer. Life is an unfolding pageant of delight and danger, a ceaseless exploration of pleasure and the limits of power. Most wondrous of all is the discovery of water: oceans, seas, pools, puddles, streams, ponds, and, perhaps most of all, rain-one meaning of the Japanese character for her name. Hers is an amphibious life.

The Character of Rain evokes the hilarity, terror, and sanctity of childhood. As she did in the award-winning, international bestesller Fear and Trembling, Nothomb grounds the novel in the outlines of her experiences in Japan, but the self-portrait that emerges from these pages is hauntingly universal. Amelie Nothomb's novels are unforgettable immersion experiences, leaving you both holding your breath with admiration, your lungs aching, and longing for more.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Literary masterpiece

    In the beginning before there is an Amélie, God exists as a tube eating, breathing, and excreting. However, the creators are a bit unhappy that this baby behaves more like a vegetable so these parents nickname the tube 'la Plante'. However, two years later la Plante abruptly moves and cries. Then the Tube¿s Belgium grandma arrives with the most devastating poison known in the universe, white chocolate. The Tube tastes the sweetness and a new conscience has metamorphosed. Life in the tube has turned quite sweetly though the awakening of Amelie makes her realize that paradise will be lost.............. This unusual autobiographical tale first is told in the third person until the pivotal moment in history, the infamous chocolate incident, when the plot is written as a first person narrative. Not everyone will want to read this metaphysical story, but those who do will find a clever, witty, and intelligent tale that even makes the earliest of days come across realistically. Except for the title, fans will appreciate Amelie Nothomb¿s work that does not miss a beat in the translation from the original French MÉTAPHYSIQUE DES TUBES.......... Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2010

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    Posted December 25, 2011

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