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    I just want to share my current experience with "The rain before it falls". Wanting to catch up with your books I missed in due time, I’ve been induldging in a smoother read – and got "The Rain Before…" in my native language, namely French. What is really striking is that I have ALL ALONG the feeling of reading a female writer : is it related to the language or the main character, or the type of narrative, or the reflections on e.g. motherly love? Not that I mind the fact, but quite a riddle. Reminded me of last week’s posts on this message board.

    So now I wonder : Will I tackle Maxwell Sim in English or French?

    Anyway, I am really looking forward to it.

    Kind regards
    Genia from Switzerland (snow melting on the tops, 30°)


    Hi Genia!

    I’m a French native speaker and I read the book in english (I live in UK so bought the book here) and even in english it feels that a woman is writing…it’s really amazing, it’s very sensitive, as a woman will tell the story of her life.
    I’ve just finished reading The House Of Sleep and I have exactly the same feeling… even with male characters….just let me know what you think.

    Take Care


    Hi Melian,
    Very interesting!
    I haven’t read "The House of Sleep" (YET).
    The reason I was amazed was that I’d read "What A Carve-Up!" in English last month. In this book, what sustained wit, anger and subdued emotion (all three very powerfuly) was something I’m tempted to call male energy. Hence my surprise.

    I don’t know if you’ve read "What a Carve-Up", and I don’t want either to be a bore by pointing out an endless list of passages. Let’s take the description of Hilary Windshaw’s career in journalism. A real jewel in composition, wit, irony, etc. A really male spirit at work, in my feeling.

    And then the passage between the two parts of the novel ( Fiona’s death). Ovewhelming with subdued pain, grief, to the point of numbness. The way men behave, really.

    In a way I feel idiotic to reduce those works to it. But I felt like reacting after feeling the way other bloggers did.

    I think I will end up reading both the French and English copies of some of Jonathan Coe’s novels, just for the pleasure of making out how translators proceeded. For now, I will try to get a copy of Maxwell Sim, in English so far (is there any translation into French in the making?).
    A nice week-end to all of you


    An interesting subject. This last couple of months I have read ‘The Rotters Club/The Closed Circle’ and one of the many things that struck me was how well the parts written by female characters were, how ‘feminine’ they felt (if that doesn’t sound too terrible), at least to this male reader. In fact I would say that it is the subtle shifts in style that I like most about Jonathan’s writing. In ‘The Rotters Club’ I particularly enjoyed the juvenile writing of Benjamin and his friends, and the distinctive ways in which they were each trying to find some kind of voice.

    As an aside I have just started reading a book by a female New York writer where the narrative is supposed to be written by a man. One of the comments on the blurb states that she, Siri Hustvedt, manages this trick very well, but I have to confess that I am not sensing it at all. There is an emotional sensitivity to the narration that I find hard to believe any man could be capable of – and certainly know I am not. Every other page I seem to get confused about which of the characters is telling me the story and have to remind myself that it is suppose to be a man writing, not a woman.
    Just some thoughts really.
    Kind regards,


    Hi Genia!

    Hope you’re fine! Just two words to tell you that I bought "What A Carve-Up!" and can’t wait to read it!

    Take Care & speak to you very soon!


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