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The Character of Rain: A Novel [Paperback]

Amelie Nothomb
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 23 2003

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 Amélie Nothomb's new novel The Character of Rain, we learn that divinity is a difficult thing from which to recover.


Frequently Bought Together

The Character of Rain: A Novel + Fear and Trembling: A Novel + Tokyo Fiancee
Price For All Three: CDN$ 36.34

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Review

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

About 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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN THE BEGINNING was nothing, and this nothing had neither form nor substance-it was nothing other than what it was. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Metaphysics of Tubes" July 3 2003
Format:Paperback
I have to believe that it was the publisher, and not the translator, who took the wonderful (and easily translatable)title of the French edition and turned it into something that sounds like the title of a police procedural (set in Seattle starring Andy Garcia, that you would avoid if you were to stumble past it on HBO), rather than the original and beautiful thing it is.

This is one of my favorite books. No summary will do it justice.
I went back to the re-read the French edition (currently known in America as "the freedom edition") and found that the important chapter about the character of rain appears two thirds of the way through the book and it is NOT central. The discussion of tubes at the beginning and end of the book (as related to the godlike infant/narrator and to her pet koi) are the meat of the story.
This is a pet peeve of mine (or more correctly, a black beast [bete noire] of mine). Why the prejudgement among American publishers that their readers will react violently against philosophy? Thank god they didn't spot the Kierkegaardian echoes in her "Stupeur et Tremblements" or they would have found something different than "Fear and Trembling" for the American edition. It's not just here and with Scholastic's change of the Philospher's Stone to the Sorcerer's Stone either; there is a general dumbing down of titles when they cross the Atlantic.
This wonderful book deserves its real title.
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5.0 out of 5 stars metaphysical autobiographical tale April 15 2003
Format:Hardcover
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
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4.0 out of 5 stars Where's the character? Oct. 20 2002
Format:Hardcover
The authors use of diction in juxtaposition with his syntax creates a linguistic reality all religious people should worship. Amelie shines with luminous beauty creating a colorful rainbow in her novel, The Character of Rain, as the stunning end becomes more rewardfull than any pot of gold. I recommend all fall to their primitive desire to make sense of this world, and worship the rain, because it can be incredibly refreshing after many a dry book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing twists!!! May 22 2002
Format:Hardcover
I have read this book in its original French version, and I hope the translator did a great job with it.
It is a wonderful book.............the story is quite amazing, with an even more amazing ending......I read it in 2 hours, couldn't stop myself from turning page after page.
I have read all the books written by A. Nothomb, and in my opinion, this is her masterpiece!
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5.0 out of 5 stars original June 20 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved it! Very original author, very popular in France for the past few years, one of her first books, this one explores the world from a child's perspective "very early on". I loved the unconventional style and the richness of this concise novel.
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