Falling by Anne Simpson

14 Sep

Published by McClelland & Stewart, 2009
Reviewed by Colleen McKie

When Damian’s sister Lisa drowns as he is sleeping nearby, it naturally changes his life forever. A year after the incident, as he travel with his mother to Niagara to spread Lisa’s ashes, Damien doesn’t plan on finding himself or love and then loosing both.  But that’s what happens in Anne Simpson’s Falling, an emotional novel of love, loss and the conflict that comes withfalling each.

Opening with the death of Lisa, this book starts off with a heart wrenching scene and doesn’t stop until the end. The author doesn’t hold back and while at times it could make the reader uncomfortable, it was needed to tell Damien’s story, and tell it well.

Throughout the book Simpson puts her characters in situations and relationships that leave them not only conflicted, but sometimes doing the wrong thing, with disastrous results.  And the author resists the urge to ties things up neatly at the end, packaged pristine and perfect. Instead we are left with broken characters, impossible events and just a small glimmer of hope. But despite the topic and plot of the book, it doesn’t feel heavy; rather there is some light and desire by the characters to right past wrong behavior and start over fresh.

One of the most unique things that Simpson does is make a secondary character that we only catch a glimmer of at the beginning of the book step up in the second half and become a main player.  I was surprised by this, but the transition of the character didn’t seem forced and needed to happen for the whole story to be told.

This was a hard book to read, but for all the right reasons.  Lyrical and addictive, I highly recommend Falling.

Browse inside Falling.

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