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Amy Falls Down: A Novel Hardcover – July 9, 2013


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Amy Falls Down: A Novel + The Writing Class + Winner of the National Book Award: A Novel of Fame, Honor, and Really Bad Weather
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (July 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250028272
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250028273
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In this sequel to the events that ended Willett’s The Writing Class (2008), erstwhile novelist turned online writing instructor Amy Gallup stumbles in her backyard just minutes before being interviewed for a where-are-the-has-beens-of-yesteryear article. It can only be assumed that her skull’s brief contact with a concrete birdbath is what transformed Amy from an irascible wag to an insouciant wit. Whatever the cause, suddenly Amy is hot again. After the article goes viral, her former agent resurfaces, booking her on NPR and scoring profiles in mainstream media, and she’s the A-list guest for literary panels discussing such egregious topics as “Whither Publishing?” Best yet, Amy’s creative muse also reappears, and short stories spew forth as if out of the ether. It’s a heady ride for the one-time recluse, showing her that, hey, maybe success isn’t so bad after all. For anyone who has ever wondered what it’s like to be an author, Willett’s thinly veiled heroine provides a saucily irreverent look at the writing life. --Carol Haggas

Review

Praise for Amy Falls Down:

“I loved this novel—it’s totally brilliant—witty and mordant and filled with these wonderful insights into the state of publishing and writing and the way we are now.  I thought Willett couldn’t top Winner of the National Book Award, but I was wrong—this one definitely does.”—Nancy Pearl

“Willett uses her charmingly filterless heroine as a mouthpiece to slam a parade of thinly veiled literati and media personalities with riotous accuracy, but she balances the snark with moments of poignancy.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A smart and witty tale.”—San Diego Union-Tribune

Praise for The Writing Class:

"Willet's delicious satire savages every literary pretension imaginable."—The Miami Herald

"A marvelous toy of a book, full of wry surprises and sly twists...extremely clever and quite enjoyable." —Booklist

Praise for Winner of the National Book Award:

“The funniest novel I have read, possibly ever.” —Augusten Burroughs

"Riotous [and] hugely funny." —The New York Times

"The author mows down worlds of artistic and psychological twaddle with killer sprays of language. Willett is effortlessly, furiously funny. . . . A." —Entertainment Weekly

"Poignant and funny, mean and tender, Willett's novel is exuberantly original."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An elegy wrapped inside a satire, a sorrowful meditation on the mysteries of sibling love and rivalry concealed within a bitterly funny chronicle of literary buffoonery. Jincy Willett is a fearless writer, capable of startling the reader into rueful laughter at every turn."—Tom Perrotta

Praise for Jenny and the Jaws of Life:

"Exquisite...A great, darkly comic collection."—Esquire

"The funniest collection of stories I've ever read—really funny and perfectly sad at the same time."
—David Sedaris


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Customer Reviews

It was fun to read and I recommend it.
theus
I read the prequel to this book, "The Writing Class", and was eager to read "Amy Falls Down", too.
BB
Yes, if you like satire one whit and are a reader or even writer of literary fiction.
Jessica Weissman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By NewDiane TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I don't often give 5-star reviews. I don't often add writers to my Must Buy list. But this book was so good that I raced through it in one sitting, turned the last page with a smile, and immediately logged onto Amazon to look for her other three books (one is a prequel to "Amy Falls Down"). Willett has an assured writing style with no discernible rough patches. Although it isn't laugh-out-loud funny, I was smiling through every chapter. Despite the steady humor, it deals with an assortment of issues, some serious, without battering the reader over the head on any point. It turns a beady eye on people and their relation to writers, writers and their relation to publishing, and the way modern media gets in the way of relations in general. Throw in a charming basset hound who becomes a sensation in his own right. Amy Gallup appeared in a previous book, but you don't need to read the first to enjoy the second. She is a writer who has been enduring a dry spell and wallowing in reclusiveness. Then, one day, she falls down and hits her head on a birdbath shortly before a journalist interviews her. Mildly concussed, she gives an interview that is just "off" enough that the public's interest is piqued. The next thing you know, Amy is in the public eye, on radio and tv talk shows, making other public appearances, and trying to make sense of her new-found fame. Best of all, her dry spell dries up and she starts writing again. Alice fell down a rabbit hole; Amy fell into a birdbath. In either case, life changes forever. What an enjoyable story! Apart from the plot, I loved all the characters. Even characters who appeared for only a few pages were drawn with such clarity that they made a real difference to the book. No cardboard place settings here! I would recommend this book to intelligent readers with a sense of humor, people who love books and will be likely to pick up on all the references, and to people who write, want to write, or are associated with writers.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By rantboi VINE VOICE on June 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've been aware of Jincy Willett for awhile now, but never got around to actually reading any of her books. When I got the chance to get an Advance Reader Copy of her newest, Amy Falls Down, I decided to give it a chance. And I'm glad I did. Amy Falls Down is a darkly humorous novel about one of my favorite subjects in fiction: writers and writing. If you're not interested in either in your fiction, this might not be the book for you, but I very much enjoyed it. There were some laugh-out-loud moments in the novel, especially when Amy puts a certain radio personality in his place. There was also a sad backstory involving her best friend (and first husband) Max. She also had another marriage, to "Bob," which I felt should have been explored more.

One thing I wasn't aware of before reading this book was that it's a sort of sequel to The Writing Class, a murder mystery. Thankfully, the author refrained from revealing who the killer was in that novel, so I can still read it. Either way, Amy Falls Down stands by itself and I didn't feel like I needed to read the other novel first.

Overall, Amy Falls Down was a pretty good novel. I liked the main character and her dog, Alphonse, and all the antics she got into after falling down in her backyard and then getting noticed by the media. Throughout the novel, I couldn't help but think of Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas, another novel about a writer and her dog, which I highly recommend. If you're into fiction about writers, I also highly recommend Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson and Martin Eden by Jack London (which you can get for free on Kindle).

I'm definitely looking forward to reading more by this author. Recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. Sullivan VINE VOICE on June 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Amy Gallup leads a quiet (reclusive) life in a sleepy California town with her dog, Alphonse. She authored a few books decades ago that garnered critical praise and raised expectations for this up and coming writer, but fame wasn't for her and she left that life behind. Now in her 60's, she no longer writes fiction even though she maintains a website and makes ends meet by teaching writing. That's all about to change, however, thanks to a bump on the head. Her peculiar behavior during an interview with a regional newspaper following a backyard accident sets things in motion for Amy to have one more go at publishing fame, or at least celebrity. "Amy Falls Down" is a satirical look at writing and the publishing industry.

This is the second novel featuring Amy Gallup. She first appeared in Willett's "The Writing Class." While the latest novel isn't a true sequel of the earlier work, it does frequently reference it. In that book, Amy's writing class was terrorized by a serial killer. Although the new work doesn't directly spoil the mystery of the former by naming the killer, it certainly dilutes the mystery by featuring some of the same characters (by process of elimination, the reader will know which individuals are neither killed nor the killer). The sheer volume of references to the prior novel seemed unnecessary and was a little grating.

Amy is a unique character, something of an anti-heroine. She's a bit of a curmudgeon; grumpy, negative, cynical, and sardonic. Plus she's largely isolated herself from personal contact with the outside world. But she's also very aware of her flaws, insecurities, and shortcomings. If her negativity is off-putting, her self-deprecating manner is endearing.
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