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Dingley Falls

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3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  482 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
In the sleepy town of Dingley Falls, Connecticut, something funny is going on. Strange forces are pulling together the oddest of couples: a mild-mannered matron and a lascivious avant-garde poet; a sleek headmaster and a shy young curate; a hippie librarian and the wayward daughter of a local tycoon. What's more, mailboxes are being stuffed with shockingly violent hate ...more
Paperback, 640 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published 1980)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Ashley
Nov 14, 2011 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: favorites
I stumbled upon Dingley Falls completely by chance, and within the first chapter or two, it was already pretty high up on my list of favourite books. Every character (and there are many) is more interesting than the last. The author jumps around as he follows the daily life of these suburbanites - some while they engage in affairs, some while they don Nazi uniforms behind closed doors, some while they venture to uncover the mystery of a secret government base on the outskirts of town... There is ...more
Susan
Dec 07, 2008 Susan rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-ish
Terribly unfair of me to review a book midstream, but after the first 200 pages or so, I felt myself asking the question "Is this book adding to my quality of life?" Not a good sign. Mind you, I have only one issue with Malone's writing style; the long list of characters which become more and more confusing as the book progresses (if only the "cast list" in the beginning scared me away then). Also, not a good sign. The premise (character-based, small town, everybody knows each other, gossip, ...more
Raquel Samson
Apr 12, 2008 Raquel Samson rated it did not like it
The poor guy who wrote this probably thought he created a master piece but what a flop. It is sort of a soap opera and takes about 400 pages to get into it - way too many characters and some of the initial main characters don't even show up again after page 200...so you have worked to get to know these initial characters and then you have to refocus SPOILER - the post mistress is the main character.
Rosary
Jan 11, 2009 Rosary rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
I love Malone's writing, and have read most all of his other works. However, I find that this book feels dated to me, and I cannot get interested in it. I do see the roots of his soap opera writing career here, but alas, I just had to give up on Dingley Falls.
She'Davia Williams
May 29, 2008 She'Davia Williams rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
This book is not worth reading. I couldnt even get through the first 150 pages. There were about one or two good parts but besides those the rest was boring, awkwardly phrased, and just a waste of time to read.
Jim Leckband
Jun 09, 2012 Jim Leckband rated it it was amazing
"Dingley Falls" is Michael Malone's expansive tribute to Matthew Arnold's poem, "Dover Beach" (Dover Beach and Other Poems).

Well, that, and a wacky soap opera of a novel concerning: biological warfare, thwarted and forbidden love, vengeance and forgiveness, corrupt and psychopathic government, childhood and the loss of innocence, social immobility and immigrant striving, public facades and private turmoil - in short, this novel published in 1980, is a wonderful, prescient, awing prelude to the
...more
Bunny
Mar 08, 2010 Bunny rated it it was amazing
Dingley Falls, which I've been assured by one who knows is a truthful version of a small New England town, is full of gossip, scandal, affairs, homosexual ministers, the rich and the poor and the government covertly experimenting with all of their bodies to the townsfolks detriment, not to mention a secretly psycho letter writer who finally goes off his rocker.

Really, really good (and amusing) - might even be profound but the writing is so clear and to the point that the reader doesn't notice ho
...more
Rod
Aug 04, 2011 Rod rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I much admire genuinely humorous writing--those books that make you laugh out loud with a clear-eyed yet affectionate look at "the way we are." This book has that. I think it suffers a little toward the end when it becomes plot-driven rather than character-driven (and some of the characters become less believable because of that), but there is some fine writing here, expertly drawn characters, and even some profound musings. My recommendation for a summer vacation: ahead and visit Dingley Falls.
Beth
Jun 12, 2009 Beth rated it did not like it
Don't bother!!
Barbara
Feb 15, 2012 Barbara rated it it was ok
Some books are so bad, I have to force myself through them; this is one of those. Dingley Falls is almost 600 pages of drivel, nearly a complete waste of time. I am chagrined that the book received glowing reviews from several newspapers I thought would be honest (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Chicago Tribune). Don't waste your time; don't believe the hype. The characters are caricatures, the author uses stream of consciousness to excess, and loves long lists ...more
Deon Stonehouse
Dingley Falls by Michael Malone is set in Connecticut in 1976. The small town is populated by quirky characters and seems to have escaped all the angst of the sixties. But the quiet, orderly town has a dark undertone, government shenanigans are putting the populace at risk, violence and discontent have found their way in too. Malone’s characters are always memorable, he treats them with empathy and makes the reader care about them. Humor is deftly used to make points on more serious subjects. ...more
Zhen Engbrecht
Jan 02, 2008 Zhen Engbrecht rated it really liked it
What I have read I really enjoyed, but I had to send the book back to Amazon because some of the pages are blank.

I never got a new book from Amazon. I was about 2/3 way through and I was a little tired of the endless number of characters, but it was still interesting because the writing was witty and the characters would get into really odd situations. There is a helpful list of the characters in the beginning. I know, when you see that you know you are in for it. At times I felt like I was in
...more
Lisa
Mar 26, 2011 Lisa rated it it was ok
A friend gave me this book since the author is Michael Malone. Would have to say that if my husband had written this, it would not have been so wordy! So much extra fluff that I thought was unnecessary and boring. Some of the different story lines that were going on seemed to be interesting, but nothing was ever finished at the end of this extremely LONG book! Took me until the middle of the book to even start to get acquainted with all the people and what was happening. Unfortunately, I have ...more
Kristi
Apr 16, 2012 Kristi rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this. First, I got this book from an unknown neighbor, a product of our neighborhood's "free little library" where people both drop off and check out books at a major intersection of the hood. what a lovely thing for a neighborhood to have!

So, the kiddos and I walked to the library with donations and I saw this novel. Impressed by the great reviews on the inside cover and the synopsis which seemed russo- ish, we took it home with us.

What a waste of paper. I made it to 300 p
...more
Tomi-Ann
Jan 20, 2008 Tomi-Ann rated it really liked it
This is quite a book. Kind of Peyton Place meets Charles Dickens meets sci fi thriller. It's a long, delicious read with such a huge number of characters that you get a "cast" list in the front, to refer back to whenever you're confused in the beginning. I didn't much love the ending, although the denouement is quite something. I wish I was still "living" in the little town of Dingley Falls, and I wish I could have saved certain characters by solving the sci fi mystery in the forest for them.
Roberta
Nov 14, 2007 Roberta rated it really liked it
This book isn't particularly "smart" -- although there are some interesting and scathing sections describing the absurd and almost existential stupidity of government. But if you're in the mood for a light read that is very well crafted and written and full of many, many interesting and quirky (quirky!) characters and a range of plots and sublots (with a nice sci-fi and government manipulation edge) then I'd have to say this is a really, really awesome book.
John
May 27, 2013 John rated it it was ok
I started out liking this book. It has good dailogue and some interesting characters. It seemed to be setting up a good story. But it never seemed to come, page after page, just hints. Each character is developed, and then redeveloped. I quit reading half way through still waiting for "it" to start happening whatever it was (will never know now). Maybe the stasis is an allegory on small town life; if so, it did not hold my interest.
Heather
Aug 30, 2014 Heather rated it did not like it
This is an awful book. Presented as a light hearted, whimsical tale of the whacky goings on in a small town. What the book contains is a government sanctified mass murder of citizens of the town, a look at some very unhappy marriages and the brutal rape of a quiet withdrawn woman. The end of the story is inexplicable, I cannot for the life of me explain the glowing reviews of major publications like The New York Times. Don't waste your time on this book.
Cara
Jun 23, 2008 Cara rated it liked it
A good (if long) choice for a summer read...a kicky variety of clearly drawn characters, and things sorting out as you might expect (and would like) them to! Although I do want to know why it seems that the author of every contemporary small town novel that I've read recently feels the need to drop extreme violence in somewhere.
Stacey
Nov 28, 2009 Stacey rated it it was amazing
Lost 2 days unexpectedly on this one. I am amazed at authors with the capacity to see the world from every possible point of view. This novel convincingly encompasses the inner worlds of an entire community. Quite a ride! Shakesperean in scope. Social satire with genuine feeling--a very rare thing.
Eli
Dec 18, 2011 Eli rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2011, queer
Not my favorite of the Malones I've read. I've read out of order, and he "grew up" a lot between this book and Handling Sin . This one is a bit less focused and hits a bit wide. It's still better than a heck of a lot of other stuff out there, and I'm glad to have read it.
Kristy
Dec 19, 2009 Kristy rated it really liked it
Dani's choice for our TSS book group - it got mixed reviews from the other chicas, but I thought it was pretty good. All of the scandal and raciness aside, I thought some of the situations were pretty amusing. The small town was like a whole different bazaar world full of some really quirky characters.
Maggie
Jan 28, 2008 Maggie rated it liked it
This time, Malone takes us up to Connecticut where we meet another town full of strange people and suspicious happenings, and proves to us that small-town craziness doesn't only happen in North Carolina.
June
Feb 27, 2010 June rated it liked it
I liked the humor--especially the parts about the secret government base, but there was something a little creepy about all the sex scenes...like the author lives with his mother and secretly writes porn based on his fantasies of what sex would be like. Just a little...creepy...
Shoshana
May 05, 2010 Shoshana rated it it was ok
I had high expectations because I loved "The Four Corners of the Sky" so much, but for some reason I struggled to get through this. I think part of my problem was there were way too many characters involved.
Sarah
Jan 02, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
Tale of outrageous characters in a CT town - but large number of characters and details make it a book best read with attention and not in rotation with other books. Funny but not necessarily light reading; also long. Still, very enjoyable.
Jennifer Altmiller
Jul 07, 2008 Jennifer Altmiller rated it liked it
This was my first Michael Malone book. I enjoyed the large cast of quirky characters and the unexpected turns in the book. The ending fell a bit flat, I thought, but it was very entertaining and a fun read. I'll be interested to read more from this author.
Eileen
Jan 29, 2013 Eileen rated it liked it
This was a long book, and almost the whole first half was spent introducing all the characters. But what really struck me is how much of the book still rings true over 30 years after it was first published.
Bojana Duke
Mar 17, 2011 Bojana Duke rated it it was ok
A slow slog through an excessive number of characters. Seems like the author could have done with half the number of pages to get the same story across. The heart attack virus bit seemed to be pretty unnecessary to the overall plot of the book - seemed kind of just pasted on a side thought.
Nancy
Sep 10, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it
The first part of the book was a little bit of work, trying to remember all the characters, but it was a fun, not easy, read. I loved getting into the lives of the characters and following this "short" story. A bit unusal, but I really did enjoy the ride.
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Michael Malone is the author of ten novels, a collection of short stories, and two works of nonfiction. Educated at Carolina and at Harvard, he is now a professor in Theater Studies at Duke University. Among his prizes are the Edgar, the O. Henry, the Writers Guild Award, and the Emmy. He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with his wife.
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