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The Girl Who Fell from the Skyby Heidi W. Durrow
2008 Bellwether Prize Winner
Heartbreaking in its honesty, this perfect jewel of a novel mirrors the real life of the author, who grew up biracial in Portland, Oregon, in the 1980s. After an accident claims her family, Rachel is sent to live with her grandmother in a predominantly black neighborhood. Rachel's confusion and frustration is palpable as she navigates through a new culture and new social norms. With flat-out gorgeous prose and pointed social commentary, this novel is an exquisite illustration of the beauty and ugliness of the human condition.
Synopses & Reviews
Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy after a fateful morning on their Chicago rooftop.
Forced to move to a new city, with her strict African-American grandmother as her guardian, Rachel is thrust for the first time into a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring a constant stream of attention her way. It's there, as she grows up and tries to swallow her grief, that she comes to understand how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity.
This searing and heartwrenching portrait of a young biracial girl dealing with society's ideas of race and class is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.
"Out of the clear blue, here is a breathless telling of a tale we've never heard before. Haunting and lovely, pitch-perfect, this book could not be more timely." Barbara Kingsolver
"The Girl Who Fell from the Sky can actually fly....Its energy comes from its vividly realized characters, from how they perceive one another. Durrow has a terrific ear for dialogue, an ability to summon a wealth of hopes and fears in a single line." New York Times Book Review
"[An] affecting, exquisite debut novel....Durrow's powerful novel is poised to find a place among classic stories of the American experience." Miami Herald
"An auspicious debut...[Durrow] has crafted a modern story about identity and survival." Washington Post
"Rachel's voice resonated in my reading mind in much the same way as did that of the young protagonist of The House on Mango Street. There's an achingly honest quality to it; both wise and naive, it makes you want to step between the pages to lend comfort." NPR's Morning Edition
From a debut author already praised by Colum McCann as a "profound and necessary new voice" comes a novel about two women adrift in New York—an Iraqi Jewish widow and the latchkey daughter of a chef—who find each other and a new kind of family through their shared love of cooking.
“Sassy, brash, acrobatic and colorful . . . I want to read it again and again.” —Time
“Impressive . . . Soffers style is natural and assured.” —Meg Wolitzer, All Things Considered, NPR
Lorca spends her life poring over cookbooks to earn the love of her distracted mother, a chef, who is now packing her off to boarding school. Desperate to prove herself, Lorca resolves to track down the recipe for her mothers ideal meal. She signs up for cooking lessons from Victoria, an Iraqi-Jewish immigrant profoundly shaken by her husbands death. Soon these two women develop a deeper bond while their concoctions—cardamom pistachio cookies, baklava, and masgouf—bake in Victorias kitchen. But their individual endeavors force a reckoning with the past, the future, and the truth—whatever it might be.
In Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots we see how food sustains not just our bodies, but our hopes as well. Bukra fil mish mish, the Arabic saying goes. Tomorrow, apricots may bloom.
“A profound and necessary new voice. Soffers prose is as controlled as it is fresh, as incisive as it is musical. Soffer has arrived early, with an orchestra of talent at her disposal.” —Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin
“Moving [and] extraordinary.” —Atlantic
“A work of beauty in words . . . Soffer is a master artist painting the hidden hues of the human soul.” —New York Journal of Books
About the Author
A graduate of Stanford University, Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, and Yale Law School, Heidi W. Durrow has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the American Scandinavian Foundation, and the Lois Roth Endowment and a Fellowship for Emerging Writers from the Jerome Foundation. Her writing has been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, the Literary Review, and others.
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