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Frances TaliaferroCoe won't allot more lyricism to a character than she can handle, and Rosamond remains the most prosaic member of her family. Yet there is beauty in her narrative, often in her descriptions of timeless landscapes, and there's a depth of human understanding. How interesting, then, that the force of Rosamond's own feelings, some of which she hardly acknowledges, sets the reader to wondering about her reliability as a narrator. But then, as Rosamond herself says, "family life is full of mystery," and a family history may raise as many questions as it answers. For the admiring reader, the question may be whether The Rain Before It Falls is a diversion for Jonathan Coe, or whether it quietly announces a new direction.
—The Washington Post