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Falling Angels

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  444 ratings  ·  32 reviews

The three Field sisters live in the sanitized suburbs of the fifties and sixties, but their plastic world is askew. They are growing up crazy in a very eccentric, often miserable, sometimes hilarious family. Their home is a war zone ruled by an abusive father - a philandering used-car salesman hooked on booze, guns and discipline. And whenever their mother's coffee mug is

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Paperback, 206 pages
Published March 15th 2001 by HarperPerennialCanada (first published 1989)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 743)
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Tea Jovanović
Kanadska, nagrađivana autorka... Već sam pisala o predivnoj kanadskoj književnosti... A Branini prevodi su izvrsni i pravo uživanje za svakog ljubitelja dobre knjige... :)
Howard
A fine example of seventies suburban grotesque, despite being set in the sixties and published in the eighties. Funny, stark, emotionally resonant, honest, sometimes surprising. Gowdy has a real grip on how kids/people do their best to normalize what isn't. Even if the kids feel like they're freaks and must keep the family secrets, it's all just the way things are to them, and they take bizarre behaviors in stride, because it's family. Sort of how we all are, of course.

She's very good, I'll read
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Mary
Nov 05, 2013 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
The year is 1969, and somewhere in an Ontario suburb, the Field family's fragile domestic peace is slowly coming to an end. The three Field sisters - Norma, Lou and Sandy - are each just trying to find their own place within their very eccentric, often miserable, sometimes hilarious family. However, the looming shadow over all of their lives is the tragically suspicious death of the family's first-born son - a secret which is never spoken of, but is nonetheless pervasive.

The Field household is r
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Serena
Mar 13, 2011 Serena rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Serena by: Shamudi
Shelves: read-in-2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel Kukwa
One of the most epically depressing novels I've read in some time. This is a meticulously constructed tale of a depressed & damaged family, consumed by their frailties, pain & anger. There is nothing wrong with delving into a depressing novel; the great David Adams Richards is a past master of such work. But "Falling Angels" is akin to watching a car accident unfold -- you are desperate to look away, but you can't stop turning the pages. Compelling and chilling, but it isn't a novel I'm ...more
Perry Whitford
Falling Angels begins in 1969 with a trio of sisters driving their drunken father to the funeral of their mother. Then, jumping back eight years to the time when the sisters first learnt about a family tragedy that pre-dates their own births but informs them all, Gowdy takes us for a short, spiky romp through the collective childhood of the three as they mature to various versions of womanhood under the neglectful eye of dysfunctional parents.
Their mother had accidentally killed her first born,
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Louise
Another well-written story by Barbara Gowdy!! I'll be on the lookout for more of her work.

Norma, Sandy and Louise (Lou) grow up with a demanding, cantankerous, military minded father in Toronto during the 60's. I'm not so sure I could have coped as well as they seemed to living with him. Their mother had her own set of problems brought on by dropping her 1st child, a son, over Niagara Falls to his death. She drinks herself into oblivion each and every day of her life but at the same time, has a
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Rob
For all its promises of safety, suburbia sure seems to have created a number of warped, rebellious minds, Barbara Gowdy being among them. Falling Angels takes a seemingly innocuous suburban family and exposes all of the terrors hidden just beneath the surface. Of course, at this point this isn't exactly new material, but Gowdy pulls it off fairly well. It's a very readable novel, with likeable characters and more than one surprise.

The main problem I had with Falling Angels is the gratuity of its
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Carol
This book was very well written. It's written from the perspective of 3 female siblings as they grow up from children-teenagers-adults in a household where parents have given up and behave badly. The siblings witness alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder and suffer mental and physical abuse. The perspective rings true as the book tells the story of Norma, Sandy and Lou as they cope with their parents' bad behaviour, making allowances and accommodations to get through their childhood relativ ...more
Ann Douglas
I discovered this book via the movie of the same name (adapted from the book), which I stumbled upon on TV a few years back. I was immediately captivated by this dysfunctional family. (Yes, I know every family is dysfunctional, but this family gives new meaning to the word dysfunctional.) I was worried that the book might be a disappointment, because I'd already seen the movie. I need not have worried. The characters in the book are even larger than life than their movie counterparts. If you're ...more
Denis
Last year I read Barbara Gowdy's novel, Mr. Sandman, and it was my favourite read of the year. So, I've been anxious to try another one of her books.

Falling Angels is a story of three sisters, Sandy, Lou and Norma, who grow up in a (highly) dysfunctional family, in Don Mills, Ontario, in the sixties. The story is an alternating 3rd person POV (from the three girls) that is pitiful, yet hopeful and funny. It's impossible not to feel for Gowdy's characters (but sometimes it's a feeling of hate and
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Kim
Lou is one of my favourite characters. Ever. She's like a foul-mouthed, teen-aged, cold-war era Anne of Green Gables. The chapter set in the bomb shelter is a stand-out, absolutely absurd and heartbreaking and hilarious. A lot of the chapters can stand on their own, outside of the greater context of the novel, but they come together to create a much more carefully drawn picture of this crackerjacks insane family, and I love it.
Clairekelly
I've never read a book that balanced multiple protagonists so well. The three sisters feel like different people on different voyages propelled by the same reason: their dysfunctional family. Their father is controlling and almost always cruel. Their mother is stuck in a state of alcoholic mourning. I would definitely give this book a chance. It has one of the best endings I've read in a while.
Shannon
Gowdy has hit the head on dysfunctional family life at its worst—and keeps the reader interested and engaged throughout the entire book. Some of the scenes in this book rang almost far too true and I found myself taken aback to my own childhood, viewing scenes that really changed me into the person I am today. Must read more by this author.
Susanne
Found this book at ValueVillage for $1.40 and had to buy it because B. Gowdy also wrote "white Bone" which had a huge impact on me. Falling Angels is ok....a bit sparse for my taste. The characters are dark and full of self-doubt, but she keeps them intertwined nicely so they don't feel isolated and meaningless.
Jenya Yuss
Another wonderful book. It is scary how much I can relate to some of the things that happen to the three sisters. I honestly wish I had found this book 4 - 6 years ago, so that it would show me that I am not alone in my struggles.
Very easy and fast to read. Only bad thing - extremely hard to put it down!
Linda
This is the second book Ive read with this title. Strange... This one is better (so far) than the other book I've read by this title though.
Really good book. Super dysfunctional family. Book jacket calls it a black humour/tragedy, but I saw no humour in it. Sad and pathetic. Compelling.
Malcolm
1960's Cold War paranoia turns three teenaged girls lives to hell after their widowed father shifts them to an air-raid shelter. Someone once described Gowdy as Jane Austen on speed. It is a fair description of this novel (and that's something good!).
Arielle
Just saw the movie, from a Film Movement DVD release, and this movie rocked my world. Literally - I know this is a book review site, but I have to praise the soundtrack of this movie as one of the best I have ever heard!
A. A.
This is the first book of hers that I read. I've read it about 20 times and I love it. Very funny and poignant. The highlight is that I got her to sign it for me. I highly recommend this book.
Jessica Chong
My sister loved this book and thought it was hilarious, but every sister's predicament got worse and worse and left such a bad taste in my mouth!
Chris Tusa
Loved this book. Fully-developed characters exhibiting strange and bizarre behavior. What else can you ask for?
Karena
In many ways this novel doesn't make sense to me. The characters just do stuff. Most of it is alarming stuff.
Viveca
A bizarro-world Little Women. Relentlessly ugly with every dysfunctional family trope included. Not recommended.
Sariah
The story seems okay, and the writing is good but I just couldn't get into it. Maybe I'll try again later.
Matt
The title sucks, but the book is amazing. Really bizarre but also strangely emotionally powerful.
Mercurymouth
Love her writing! I always get involved with every single one of her characters!
Sara Steger
A strange little plot, but kept me interested.
Victoria Shepherd
Darkly evocative, and bleakly fascinating.
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Barbara Gowdy is a Canadian novelist and short story writer. Born in Windsor, Ontario, she is the long-time partner of poet Christopher Dewdney and resides in Toronto.
More about Barbara Gowdy...
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