Falling by Anne Simpson, 314 pages
3rd Canadian Book Challenge
On metaphors: A book focused on grief, Falling, uses Niagara Falls as its center point.
On the plot: The first line has seventeen year old Lisa dying in a tragic accident in Nova Scotia. The action then moves forward, nearly a year later, as her brother and mother travel to Niagara Falls, home of Lisa's uncle and cousin, to scatter her ashes.
On no quotation marks for conversations: I'll admit, it bothered me at first. But the whole novel is about grief, and the disorientation felt by Damien and his mother, so it felt true to their experience. This disorientation extended to past and present situations occuring in the same paragraph, same sentence for some characters. Again, this took some time, but really made me feel the characters confusion.
On the characters: Everyone is dealing with some form of disorientation. Uncle Roger, a former daredevil whose gone over the Falls twice, is now blind. Cousin Elvis has an intellectual disability. Damien meets Jasmine and they fall in love, rather dramatically
On loss: More than Lisa is lost, Ingrid, the mother deals with the loss of her marriage, and former loves; Roger loses his eyesight; Damien and Jasmine find and lose each other a few times; Jasmine loses her childhood home by running away; the neighbour at the cottage in Nova Scotia has dealt with much of his own loss of family
On poetry: Simpson is a published, honoured poet, and her writing is very reminiscent of poetry. Sometimes that causes me problems, but I was able to let go and let the book carry me along. There was a nice section in the middle, at a pivotal plot point, with a stream of consciousness, that was more poem-like, and beautifully set the tone and atmosphere of this most dramatic moment for Damien.
on my thoughts: I ended up liking it, but it wasn't an easy read. I found Simpson's use of details at times in the descriptions a bit distracting, but some other descriptions were very nice. This wasn't a linear plot, with classic structure, but it was compelling in characters and their struggles, with poetic writing
also (very nicely) reviewed at: pickle me this