The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates
A Novel

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Synopsis

It is 1950 and, after a disastrous honeymoon night, Ariah Erskine's young husband throws himself into the roaring waters of Niagara Falls. Ariah, "the Widow Bride of the Falls," begins a relentless seven-day vigil in the mist, waiting for his body to be found. At her side is confirmed bachelor and pillar of the community Dirk Burnaby, who is unexpectedly drawn to her. What follows is a passionate love affair, marriage, and family -- a seemingly perfect existence. But tragedy soon takes over their lives, poisoning their halcyon years with distrust, greed, and murder.

Set against the mythic-historic backdrop of Niagara Falls in the mid-twentieth century, this haunting exploration of the American family in crisis is a stunning achievement from "one of the great artistic forces of our time" (The Nation).

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
 

About Joyce Carol Oates

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Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.
 
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 512 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Falls

The New York Times

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Joyce Carol Oates's thundering, sudsy Niagara of a novel hammers home two different visions of bravery, one linked to moral authority, the other to simple hardship and survival.

Oct 18 2004 | Read Full Review of The Falls: A Novel

The New York Times

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OYCE CAROL OATES'S gravely ambitious new novel is set at Niagara Falls, and you practically need a rain slicker to read it.

Sep 19 2004 | Read Full Review of The Falls: A Novel

The Guardian

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History may be fended off (Ariah has an aversion to news and newspapers that keeps her ignorant of her husband's involvement in financial and political deals) but it shapes family life.

Jul 28 2007 | Read Full Review of The Falls: A Novel

The Guardian

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"Did you need to be angry about something to write this novel, and indeed your other novels?"

Aug 18 2007 | Read Full Review of The Falls: A Novel

The Guardian

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"The Falls" refers to the natural, extraordinary phenomenon that has been named Niagara Falls, or "The Falls at Niagara", to be distinguished from "Niagara Falls" which means the city - once relatively affluent, a favourite of tourists, and now one of our most depressed American cities (economica...

Aug 11 2007 | Read Full Review of The Falls: A Novel

The Guardian

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The Falls is a novel about an American family, observed over the course of three decades, but it is also a novel about a place.

Aug 04 2007 | Read Full Review of The Falls: A Novel

The Guardian

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The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates 481pp, 4th Estate, £17.99 By 1900, according to an epigraph in Joyce Carol Oates's latest novel, Niagara Falls had become known as "Suicide's Paradise".

Oct 16 2004 | Read Full Review of The Falls: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Her unreasonable fear becomes self-fulfilling when her increasingly unstable behavior, combined with Dirk's obsessed but chaste involvement with Nina Olshaker, a young mother who enlists his help in alerting the city fathers to the pestilential conditions in the area later to be known as Love Can...

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Book Reporter

While this is an ambitious novel with much to recommend it (the characters are intriguing and Niagara Falls itself is a menacing and interesting presence throughout), it is not wholly successful.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Falls: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

…[The Falls is] surely one of Oates’ best works, a ‘magical conjunction’ of all her literary experimentation.’" Charlotte Innes Washington Post 4 of 5 Stars "In her hypnotic new novel, The Falls, Oates juxtaposes a majestic and dangerous natural phenomenon—the Falls at Niagara—with a man-mad...

Oct 08 2007 | Read Full Review of The Falls: A Novel

Reader Rating for The Falls
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