Fall on your Knees

Fall on your Knees

A Novel

Book - 2005
Average Rating:
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The story of a jinxed family, a catalog of rape, incest and death. James Piper abuses his daughter, atones by sending her to New York to study singing while he goes to war, she returns pregnant, dies in childbirth when her mother opens her to save her twins. One of the twins dies, mother commits suicide, the second twin contracts polio while being baptized in a creek by an aunt, the aunt is raped by James. A first novel set in Nova Scotia early this century.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2005
Edition: 1st Touchstone ed
ISBN: 9780743237185
0743237188
9780743237192
0743237196
Branch Call Number: Fiction MacD
Characteristics: 508 p. : ill. ; 21 cm

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r
ritarufus
Oct 16, 2017

Following the curves of history in the first half of the twentieth century, Fall On Your Knees takes us from haunted Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, through the battle fields of World War One, to the emerging jazz scene of New York city and into the lives of four unforgettable sisters. The mythically charged Piper family--James, a father of intelligence and immense ambition, Materia, his Lebanese child-bride, and their daughters: Kathleen, a budding opera Diva; Frances, the incorrigible liar and hell-bent bad girl; Mercedes, obsessive Catholic and protector of the flock; and Lily, the adored invalid who takes us on a quest for truth and redemption--is supported by a richly textured cast of characters. Together they weave a tale of inescapable family bonds, of terrible secrets, of miracles, racial strife, attempted murder, birth and death, and forbidden love. Moving and finely written, Fall On Your Knees is by turns dark and hilariously funny, a story--and a world--that resonate long after the last page is turned.

2nd time reading it. Loved it.

c
Catherine41
Aug 28, 2017

I couldn't put the book down, but I found the storyline to be unrealistic throughout - like a fantasy rather than reality. Maybe that was the point. I was disturbed by some of the character's behaviour, especially James and Mercedes.

VaughanPLKasey Nov 09, 2016

A historical, domestic epic following four generations of the Piper family in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia from the late 19th to early 20th century. MacDonald’s heart-wrenching prose finds the threads of beauty even within the darkest recesses of humanity, as the novel deals with poverty, alcoholism, racism, child sexual abuse, and death, as the family members try and very often fail to break out of the cycles into which they were born.

l
lerche
Oct 21, 2015

A morbidly fascinating story about a fatally flawed man and his daughters. Extremely well-written. Could not put it down. This book is not for the prudes among us.

g
gvlee
Mar 16, 2015

I found the characters were unlikeable and the storyline incoherent. I gave up after 85 pages.

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 11, 2014

A compelling first novel by an award-winning Canadian playwright. MacDonald knows how to set scenes that leave you breathless--with laughter, deep recognition, or shock! She portrays the earliest years of our country’s century, following the lives of four Nova-Scotian sisters in and out of the tangled web of their shared past, present and future. Don’t miss this!

mooncat Jan 09, 2014

I found the description of the sexual child abuse offensive and although I read this book to the end, the story line did not make sense most of the time which showed the author's lack of experience writing novels. I would not recommend this book to others.

a
ashleysears
Nov 07, 2013

SPOILERS ------I hated Mercedes from the start, I actually disliked her more then the father and he was a sick bastard. Don't use god as an excuse for anything. Hating your sisters because people like them for them even if one of them is rottenly bad. She never did anything because she was nice she did it because she wanted something out of it. And why did she tell Adalaide no to giving her and Ginger the baby, why was it better to leave him in that home? Why would you tell your sister her baby died, when you can see that, that was what finally made her happy. That's pure selfishness, and had nothing to do with God. The only part that was good was that she finally made the family tree the correct way, even if Frances had to fight to get her to hear the truth. PS Frances was my favorite.

p
Pisinga
Nov 09, 2012

I didn't get it. I do not like the composition of the book, lengthy description of "girls' games". I do not know if this is good or bad, but I could not read beyond half of this book.

b
barbarad27
Jan 31, 2012

An absolute Must Read!! Tugs at your emotions and I found myself unable to put it down. Fabulous!

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EPLPicks_Teen Apr 06, 2010

A complex story of lust, betrayals and long-held secrets, set in Cape Breton. The saga begins in 1899 when James Piper, 18, elopes with Materia Mahmoud, 13.

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