La pluie, avant qu'elle tombe

Editions Gallimard
23

Rosamond vient de mourir, mais sa voix résonne encore, dans une confession enregistrée, adressée à la mystérieuse Imogen. S'appuyant sur vingt photos soigneusement choisies, elle laisse libre cours à ses souvenirs et raconte, des années quarante à aujourd'hui, l'histoire de trois générations de femmes, liées par le désir, l'enfance perdue et quelques lieux magiques. Et de son récit douloureux et intense naît une question, lancinante : y a-t-il une logique qui préside à ces existences? Tout Jonathan Coe est là : la virtuosité de la construction, le don d'inscrire l'intime dans l'Histoire, l'obsession des coïncidences et des échos qui font osciller nos vies entre hasard et destin. Et s'il délaisse cette fois le masque de la comédie, il nous offre du même coup son roman le plus grave, le plus poignant, le plus abouti.
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More by Jonathan Coe

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Jonathan Coe
A dream of a novel."
--Erica Wagner, The Times (London)

Following The Winshaw Legacy--Coe's ecstatically reviewed American debut, winner of the John Lewellyn Rhys Prize in England and France's coveted Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger--comes this beguiling, eccentric entertainment.
        Ashdown--a vast clifftop manor on the English coast--was once a university residence, where a group of students met briefly before going their separate ways. Twelve years later, it has been transformed into a clinic for sleep disorders, and a series of strange coincidences and ostensible synchronicities draws the same group of people together once again, each of them in different ways plagued by sleep.
        Sarah is narcoleptic, and her inability to distinguish between dreams and waking reality gives rise to a great many misunderstandings--one of which is to change Robert's life forever, as he persists for years (and then some) in his attempt to win her love. For Terry, a disillusioned film critic whose career has been derailed by Sarah's affliction, sleep is merely a memory, for his insomnia is complete and he can only yearn for the tantalizing dreams he enjoyed in youth. And for the increasingly deranged Dr. Dudden, who has made the subject the focus of his medical practice, sleep is nothing less than a global disease.
        With panache worthy of Nabokov, and with the heart to match his sophistication, Jonathan Coe has written a breathtakingly original comedy about the powers we acquire--and those we relinquish--when we fall asleep, or fall in love.

"This is a remarkable book, most impressive for its subtle narrative patterning, like a dapple of light and shade, allowing us to indulge the illusion of understanding its characters, until, all at once, the darkness, the isolation and the mystery return. Perhaps most strange of all, for a novel about insomniacs, The House of Sleep is a wonderful bedtime read."
--David Nokes, Sunday Times
Jonathan Coe
Maxwell Sim can’t seem to make a single meaningful connection. His absent father was always more interested in poetry; he maintains an e-mail correspondence with his estranged wife, though under a false identity; his incomprehensible teenage daughter prefers her BlackBerry to his conversation; and his best friend since childhood is refusing to return his calls. He has seventy-four friends on Facebook, but nobody to talk to.

In an attempt to stir himself out of this horrible rut, Max quits his job as a customer liaison at the local department store and accepts a strange business proposition that falls in his lap by chance: he’s hired to drive a Prius full of toothbrushes to the remote Shetland Islands, part of a misguided promotional campaign for a dental-hygiene company intent on illustrating the slogan “We Reach Furthest.”

But Max’s trip doesn’t go as planned, as he’s unable to resist making a series of impromptu visits to important figures from his past who live en route. After a string of cruelly enlightening and intensely awkward misadventures, he finds himself falling in love with the soothing voice of his GPS system (“Emma”) and obsessively identifying with a sailor who perpetrated a notorious hoax and subsequently lost his mind. Eventually Max begins to wonder if perhaps it’s a severe lack of self-knowledge that’s hampering his ability to form actual relationships.

A humane satire and modern-day picaresque, The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim is a gently comic and rollickingly entertaining novel about the paradoxical difficulties of making genuine attachments in a world of advanced communications technology and rampant social networking.


From the Hardcover edition.

Reviews

4.3
23 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Editions Gallimard
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Published on
May 25, 2011
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Pages
268
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ISBN
9782072406805
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Language
French
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Genres
Fiction / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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