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Book Review – The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft

Posted by mcm0704 on March 9, 2014 |

 The Art of Falling

Kathryn Craft
File Size: 1184 KB
Print Length: 368 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1402285191
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (January 28, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00F3D8KKQ

What a wonderful story of celebrating life. To really appreciate the joy of living, one must first have pain, and Penelope Sparrow has plenty of pain, physical and emotional and spiritual. The journey Penny takes from the darkest moment of despair to the light of joy is not an easy one, for her or for the reader at times. The author did not pull back from the agony one feels while watching someone she loves slowly kill herself and the internal conflicts that creates.

Penny is a dancer, struggling with her self-image, struggling with her obese mother, and struggling with life in general, when she takes a fall from her 14th floor apartment window and somehow survives. But can she go on, especially since she cannot remember how she fell or what happened just prior to it?

She does, however, remember dance. She remembers taking the stage and her last dance with Dmitri, the man she has given herself to body and soul.

With the help of Marty, the baker, and Angela, a young woman who is suffering from cystic fibrosis, Penny champions her way through all the challenges of the physical and emotional trauma. The relationships with these new friends helps Penny focus on what is important, and the way those friendships grow is a wonderful layer to the story. Except for the fact that Marty in the classic screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky was a butcher, there are some subtle similarities in the characterizations. I often thought of the movie Marty when Marty the baker was in a scene in The Art of Falling. I don’t know if Kathryn made the same association, but it was a nice one.

Using the themes of dance and letting the reader feel what it is like to be one with the air and the music really helped propel the story and connect the reader to Penny in an innovative way. This is a thoughtful book that one should read with plenty of time to savor the subtleties of the writing. Everything about this book is top notch from the characters, to the pacing, to the story structure, to the magical, lyrical prose.

Kathryn Craft has certainly mastered the craft of writing, and she will be my guest this coming Wednesday, sharing a charming story from her childhood. I do hope you can come back on Wednesday and meet the child who grew up to be a novelist.

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