• St. Martin's Press
Reading Group Gold
The Character of Rain - Amelie NothombSee larger image
See Hi-Res Jpeg image


email/print EmailPrint

The Character of Rain



Book Buy
Ebook Ebook 
    
Share this book with friends through your favorite social networking site. Share:           Bookmark and Share
Add this title to your virtual bookshelves at any of these book community sites. Shelve:             
sign up to get updates about this author
add this book's widget
to your site or blog

About The Author

Amelie Nothomb

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... More

Stay In Touch

Sign up to recieve information about new releases, author appearances, special offers, all related to you favorite authors and books.

Other Books You Might Like

cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Fear and Trembling
A Novel

St. Martin's Griffin
According to ancient Japanese protocol, foreigners deigning to approach the emperor did so only with fear and trembling. Terror and self-abasement conveyed...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Air
Or, Have Not Have

St. Martin's Griffin
What happens when the whole world goes online . . . through the air? A brilliant literary SF novel by the author of 253.
cover Buy
The Wind off the Sea
A Novel of the Women Who Prevailed After World War II

Thomas Dunne Books
It is 1947, the worst winter in England since records began, and even the sea is frozen. For the women living in the little fishing port of Bexham, the chronic...
  
cover Buy
David Lean
A Biography

St. Martin's Press
The life and its biographer provide a landmark work on the cinema. Emerging from a childhood of nearly Dickensian darkness, David Lean found his great success...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
How To Be a Good Wife
A Novel

St. Martin's Press
In the tradition of Emma Donoghue's Room and S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman is a haunting literary debut about a...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Don't Want No Sugar

St. Martin's Griffin
Everyone knew that Eula May had lost her mind over loving a married man. It was what drove her to kill herself and leave her only daughter, Roberta, in the...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Kiss Me Like A Stranger
My Search for Love and Art

St. Martin's Griffin
Gene Wilder is one of the great comic actors who defined the 1970's and 1980's in movies. From his early work with Woody Allen to the rich group of movies he...
  Bonus
cover Buy
Spin
A Novel

St. Martin's Press
Taylor Green is a corn-fed young man from the Midwest who stumbles into New York without a clue, a contact, or a proper wardrobe. Through true serendipity (or...
  Bonus
cover Buy
Bad Kitty Gets a Bath

Square Fish
Break out the bandages! Bad Kitty needs a bath. And she’s not getting in the tub without a fight.
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Thinking, Fast and Slow

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks
Major New York Times bestsellerWinner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award in 2012Selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the best...
cover Buy

More formats
Audio
The Odyssey
The Fitzgerald Translation

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks
The classic translation of The Odyssey, now in a Noonday paperback. Robert Fitzgerald's translation of Homer's Odyssey is the best and best-loved modern...

Reading Group Gold

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.


1. The narrator of the novel maintains with great seriousness that she can remember absolutely everything from the age of two. Do you believe this is possible? Do you have any memories of being two, and do they have the same clarity and precision as the memories here?
2. The narrator provides a vivid portrait of a baby’s pre-verbal existence – in this case a child’s life from birth until the moment she eats that piece of white chocolate given to her by her grandmother. Is she exceptional or is there something universal about her babyhood and the way she remembers it?
3. According to the novel, the Japanese consider children younger than three to be “gods,” and spoil them rotten. Does this novel help explain why they feel childhood is holy? Is this true to any degree of our own culture?
4. Water literally courses throughout this book – lakes, rivers, oceans, gutters. The Japanese character for “Amelie” is the same as the character for rain. What is the relationship between water and the story Amelie has to tell?
5. Death is prevalent in this novel – not just death but the experience of dying, described in almost aesthetic terms. Talk about Amelie’s near-death experiences and how they shape her vision of the world. Can a three-year-old child experience the kind of angst that would nearly drive her to suicide?
6. Amelie has two nannies, the loving Nishio-san and the hateful Kashima-san. They look at Japan and its relationship to the West in very different ways. Did you find you began to understand Kashima-san, or at least the culture that has shaped her, better by the end of the novel?
7. The novel ends on a rueful, almost mournful note: “After that, nothing more happened.” What do you think Amelie, the narrator, or Amelie Nothomb, the writer, means by this last sentence?

You May Also Be Interested In

cover Buy

More formats
Audio eBook
The Cairo Affair

Minotaur Books
Sophie Kohl is living her worst nightmare. Minutes after she confesses to her husband, a mid-level diplomat at the American embassy in Hungary, that she had an...
  
cover Buy

More formats
Audio eBook
The Beautiful Mystery
A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

Minotaur Books
The brilliant new novel in the New York Times bestselling series by Louise Penny, one of the most acclaimed crime writers of our time    No outsiders are...
  Bonus
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Eleanor & Park

St. Martin's Griffin
“Eleanor & Park reminded me not just what it’s like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it’s like to be young and in love with a book.”—John...
  Bonus