Ten years separate the publication of The House of Sleep (1997) from that of The Rain Before it Falls (2007), but the two novels share an interest in the intimacy of private emotional lives and evoke ‘an understanding of the workings of human nature’ (Coe, 2013d). Like Sarah in The House of Sleep, the books combine ‘ease and melancholy, lightness and weight’ (1997a, 154) and explore close human relationships — between friends, lovers, family members — and the sense of connectedness and sharing they achieve or fail to conjure. To borrow Coe’s comment on Rosamond Lehmann’s work, a central theme is ‘nothing less than the moral responsibility of human beings towards one another’ (2013d). Unlike What a Carve Up!, The Rotters’ Club and The Closed Circle, both novels essentially leave the historical and political context in the background even if it is never totally absent.
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