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Impressive modern classic about guilt, shame and responsibility


Anne Provoost

Lucas is spending the summer with his mother in his grandfather’s house as he does every year. This year, however, everything is different: his grandfather died at Christmas and gradually tongues are beginning to wag about his war years. Vulnerable and insecure, Lucas feels threatened, until he finds decisiveness, confidence and friendship in Benoît, becoming entangled in his carefully woven xenophobic web. Meanwhile he becomes reacquainted with Caitlin, who lives at the nearby convent. She too has outspoken opinions on the present and the past. The sultry summer comes to an end when Lucas has to rescue Caitlin from a burning car and is simultaneously proclaimed a hero and a traitor.

So complex that terms such as convincing, sophisticated, layered and hair-raising don’t do it justice.
NRC Handelsblad

In a sober style and with atmospheric, detailed descriptions and convincing dialogue, Anne Provoost creates an extraordinarily oppressive feel to her novel. Slowly and precisely she builds up the story, sketching Lucas’s narrative with well-chosen strokes. More than twenty years after publication, ‘Falling’ still features on secondary school reading lists, proof that this impressive novel, in which everything slowly but surely gets out of hand, remains burningly topical.

From the beginning ‘Falling’ exhibits the traits of a classic tale of destiny; slowly but surely it moves towards a terrifying close.
Woutertje Pieterse Prize jury
'All the more pertinent, two decades on'
Angela Namoi, Rights & International Sales Director at Allen & Unwin Books for Children and Young Adults

''Falling' by Anne Provoost is a novel that moved me greatly. I first read it in 1996 and immediately sensed the importance of its message – a message that is beautifully controlled by the author so that the reader receives a “slow reveal”, which adds significantly to its punch. Provoost masterfully illustrates the vulnerability of young people as they are befriended and “groomed” by neo-fascists, and highlights the significant and terrible consequences of falling victim to such ploys.

I re-read the novel recently and its impact seems all the more pertinent, two decades on, as our world sadly moves ever more in the direction of many different strands of extremism. I would highly recommend this book for all teenagers and for high-school class discussion.

Allen & Unwin is proud to have produced an English-language translation of 'Falling' (translated by John Nieuwenhuizen), first published by us in 1997, and we have released a 20th anniversary edition in 2017.'