Saturday, May 5, 2007

Fall On Your Knees

Title: Fall On Your Knees
Author: Ann-Marie MacDonald
Country: Canada
Year: 1996
Rating: A
Pages: 508pgs

Amazon describes Fall On Your Knees as a sprawling saga, which I feel is the perfect description for this novel about love, loss, religious fanaticism, guilt, redemption, race and class differences, abuse, and guilt...just to name a few. The reader is quickly captured and enthralled by the Piper family, and despite the emotional landslides and despair that surrounds virtually all of the characters, FOYK remains a page-turner to the very end.

Every character has their own secret, which leads to the further unraveling of the family over time. Materia, the child-bride married to James, lives a life of regret, and struggles to love her first-born child. James constantly struggles to reign in an inner demon: his journey is one that is deeply real and haunting all at once. Their children, each taking a special place in the family, are consumed and affected by the struggles of their parents. It is a story that is filled with darkness and sadness, yet is also humorous and loving. It is no easy feat to pull off such a story, and Ann-Marie MacDonald did an amazing job, especially when you consider the first line of the story: 'They are all dead now.'

The beginning of a secret:
'Everyone agrees to this fiction, and the only people who'd breathe a word of the actual facts to the the illegitimate child are those who are so malicious to begin with that they are easily dismissed as liars. As in truth they are. For the beneficent lie tells the truth about the child, which is "you belong to this community," whereas the malicious truthtellers use fact to convey a lie, which is "you don't belong." This is an imperfect system but it's the prevailing one. And as the years go by the facts get eroded and scattered by time, until there are more people who don't know than people who do.'

A Cape Breton sunset:
'This is the best of summer. Not yet eight in the evening, the sun has brought out the green of the ocean and bathed the sky in a soothing balm of fire. Days like this are so precious. Frances stops and looks out at the sea, which trembles at the caress of the sun.'


Wendy said...

I thought you'd probably like this one as much as I did! I can't wait to read her other book which I have sitting on my shelf staring at me every day!!!

Literary Feline said...

I finally got myself a copy and so I won't have an excuse not to read it--other than it's not the book's turn yet. LOL It sure does sound good. Great review!