contrabarbie, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by contrabarbie)
A novel that takes the reader on a fantastic journey of growing up in two different cultural worlds (aka the mixed experience), often made to choose one or the other. The protagonist's voice was absolutely compelling! I adored this book!
nem, September 7, 2011 (view all comments by nem)
This book is absolutely beautiful. Heidi Durrow's prose is excellent as she slowly pulls the reader through the stream of her story, adding unexpected twists as she goes along. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky is short, yet perfect in length to tell Rachel's story.
ireadalot, March 25, 2010 (view all comments by ireadalot)
I was pulled into this book because it won the Bellweather Prize for first time fiction with a social bent. Though I was not thrilled with Mudbound, another Bellweather Prize winner, I continued to have high hopes for this prize. The Girl Who Fell From the Sky is better than Mudbound, its writing is more mature, it had less predicable characters and outcomes, and its voice was far more unique. But like Mudbound, it failed to serve up a satisfying end. (Other similarities to Mudbound; both are about black white relations, both deal with a relationship between a black man and his European lover/wife.) The Girl Who Fell From the sky tells the story from a more unique perspective - a mixed race child who has survived a brutal act by her mother, and it is told with a very unique voice, which ultimately is the books strongest aspect. This voice makes its characters believable, even though they are not fully flushed out. The weakness of the book is its ending, which feels rushed and weak, and asks readers to suspend their belief a bit too far.
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Karen Iliff, February 21, 2010 (view all comments by Karen Iliff)
I highly recommend this book. I had the pleasure of seeing the author at Powell's (thank you Powell's!) and she was incredible. Heidi Durrow won the Bellwether Prize for Fiction because of the social issues of the book. But there is much more to the story. “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky” is a story of life, love, grief, survival, and learning about your past as well as your future.
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Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill -
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.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Durrow's debut draws from her own upbringing as the brown-skinned, blue-eyed daughter of a Danish woman and a black G.I. to create Rachel Morse, a young girl with an identical heritage growing up in the early 1980s. After a devastating family tragedy in Chicago with Rachel the only survivor, she goes to live with the paternal grandmother she's never met, in a decidedly black neighborhood in Portland, Ore. Suddenly, at 11, Rachel is in a world that demands her to be either white or black. As she struggles with her grief and the haunting, yet-to-be-revealed truth of the tragedy, her appearance and intelligence place her under constant scrutiny. Laronne, Rachel's deceased mother's employer, and Brick, a young boy who witnessed the tragedy and because of his personal misfortunes is drawn into Rachel's world, help piece together the puzzle of Rachel's family. Taut prose, a controversial conclusion and the thoughtful reflection on racism and racial identity resonate without treading into political or even overtly specific agenda waters, as the story succeeds as both a modern coming-of-age and relevant social commentary." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day"
by Erin Aubry Kaplan, Ms. Magazine,
"The Girl Who Fell From the Sky is that rare thing: a post-postmodern novel with heart that weaves a circle of stories about race and self-discovery into a tense and sometimes terrifying whole." (read the entire Ms. Magazine review)
by Jay Parini, author of Promised Land,
"Heidi Durrow is a wonderfully gifted writer who can summon a voice, a memorable character, with bold, swift strokes. [This] is a gem."
by Whitney Otto, author of A Collection of Beauties at the Height of their Popularity,
"It engages the heart as much as it does the mind...Unforgettable."
by George Hutchinson, author of In Search of Nella Larsen,
"One of the most convincing, original, and moving novels in the distinguished canon of American interracial literature."
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.
“Elegant, sensual, surprising, and rich, Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots delivers a world to us, populated with indelible characters whose fates, as they become entwined, spur us to read fast, faster, except to do so would be to miss the beauty of Soffers language, which is to be savored.” — Dani Shapiro, author of Family History
This is a story about accepting the people we love—the people we have to love and the people we choose to love, the families were given and the families we make. Its the story of two women adrift in New York, a widow and an almost-orphan, each searching for someone shes lost. Its the story of how, even in moments of grief and darkness, there are joys waiting nearby.
Lorca spends her life poring over cookbooks, making croissants and chocolat chaud, seeking out rare ingredients, all to earn the love of her distracted chef of a mother, who is now packing her off to boarding school. In one last effort to prove herself indispensable, Lorca resolves to track down the recipe for her mothers ideal meal, an obscure Middle Eastern dish called masgouf.
Victoria, grappling with her husbands death, has been dreaming of the daughter they gave up forty years ago. An Iraqi Jewish immigrant who used to run a restaurant, she starts teaching cooking lessons; Lorca signs up.
Together, they make cardamom pistachio cookies, baklava, kubba with squash. They also begin to suspect they are connected by more than their love of food. Soon, though, they must reckon with the past, the future, and the truth—whatever it might be. Bukra fil mish mish, the Arabic saying goes. Tomorrow, apricots may bloom.
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.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.