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Falling Paperback – May 5, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Books (May 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330368893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330368896
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,605,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Elizabeth Jane Howard is the author of fourteen highly acclaimed novels. The Cazalet Chronicle - The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion and Casting Off - have become established as modern classics and have been adapted for a major BBC television series and most recently for BBC Radio 4. In 2002 Macmillan published her autobiography, Slipstream. In that same year she was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. The fifth novel in the Cazelet Chronicle All Change will be published in November 2013.

From AudioFile

British novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard, author of the acclaimed family-saga series, The Cazalet Chronicles, makes a successful stylistic departure in her new novel. This is a tale of romance told in the voices of two characters: Daisy Langrish, an emotionally vulnerable writer who buys a weekend cottage in the country, and Henry Kent, the charmer who offers to work in her garden. Both are over 60, and each wants something from the other. What they want and what they get--that's the crux of the story. The fine British actors Alan Bates and Diana Quick narrate the tale in alternating first-person chapters. The result is a pas de deux of nuanced, sympathetic reading. Henry Kent's charisma and Daisy's neediness are unforgettable. Neither Bates nor Quick attempts to create significantly different voices for the other characters who pass through the story, though Quick deepens her voice for one character, with mixed results. Instead the narrators create one true voice each for their own characters and capture the reader's imagination. A.C.S. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award. © AudioFile 2000, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

The scenes of abuse are, simply, boring.
Danusha V. Goska
Another message of this story is how important and vital friendships are, in our lives.
Vickie Linnet
It circles in, in a meandering way, on what the truth really is.
Nancy Babcock

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "judithb" on December 19, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
I haven't heard the tapes, but I've read the book. I couldn't find a listing for the book, so I'm putting my review here.
I can just imagine those fine actors, Alan Bates and Dianna Quick giving these characters voice - Bates, especially, is perfect casting.
Henry is in his 60s, without financial means, and caretaking a small houseboat on one of England's canals. He sees himself as handsome, charming and sexually gifted - a real ladies man. He thinks he knows what women want and does his best to give it to them, but on the wrong side of 60 and with little money, his opportunities are limited. Without a partner, and burnt by experiences from lonely hearts columns, he refuses to give up, and sets his requirements down on paper. However, on a walk to the village for provisions, he notices a local cottage has been bought by a reasonably attractive woman of mature years with, most importantly, obvious signs of money. Successfully offering his services as a gardener, then caretaker of the cottage when Daisy's work takes her to America for some months, he immediately begins planning a strategy to make Daisy's money his. He rearranges his life story in a way that he thinks will make Daisy sympathetic to him, and slowly, relentlessly inveigles her into his web of deceit and lies.
Written in alternate chapters from both Henry's and Daisy's viewpoint, we read of him setting his bait, then her unknowingly taking it, then his derision of her neediness. We find out about Henry's past, or rather, the past he prefers to remember. We find out about Daisy, her two failed marriages, her estrangement from her daughter and her unexpected success as a playwright.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Babcock on March 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
I read this book eight years ago and still remember it vividly for both its story and the way it tells it. It circles in, in a meandering way, on what the truth really is. The reader is nearly as much in the dark as Daisy for most of the story, and what I have always remembered is how the reader finds out the truth much in the same way that Daisy does.

I checked in with Amazon to see if the book was now available in the US, having just recommended it to a friend. Happy to find it here, I was surprised to read the review of the 2007 reviewer who obviously neither shares my view, nor that of the 2006 reviewer, with whom I absolutely agree.

For a book to have stuck in my mind for as vividly and as long as this one has, it had to have something somewhat out of the ordinary. The one word that describes it best to me is 'haunting.'
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Beverley Strong on April 10, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
The previous reviewer,judithb,has written a perfect precis of the story so I won't bother repeating the story.It's the old(unfortunately) story of a lonely,vulnerable woman of sixty,still attractive and with a good,solid writing career,meeting an attractive,sexy(even at 65) man who knows a good thing when he sees it and promptly decides to make the moves on her.A con man with considerable charm,he lulls and woos her into a state of submission,and if it were not for her canny friends and daughter,would have undoubtedly destroyed her life. I became uneasy with him right from the word go and this spoiled my reading of the book as I was just waiting for the inevitable to happen.One hopes that all women will have good friends to give them a good shake if they're unfortunate enough to succumb to late life"love affairs" and rescue them before too much damage is done.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By KOMET on March 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Falling" is not only a novel that delves into the anatomy of a seduction. It is also masterful in that it gives the reader access into both the inner and outer lives of the two people involved: Henry Kent and Daisy Langrish. Elizabeth Jane Howard fleshes them out with the skill that Vermeer, Goya, Manet, and John Singer Sargent showed to such fine effect on canvas.

Henry, the son of a gardener who never showed him love, learned to be resourceful early in life by trusting to his own wits. He developed a proficiency for discerning the emotional states of women --- preferably ones with wealth and status --- and exploiting them for his own benefit. He had this charm and savoir faire, which he was not abash to speak of, from time to time, with the reader. (The author has most chapters titled either "Henry" or "Daisy", so the reader always knows who is occupying center stage.)

Daisy, who grew up with an aunt ("Jess") who gave her unselfish and unconditional love, had 2 failed marriages, and had turned to playwriting (and scriptwriting) for solace and as a way of making a livelihood for her and her daughter. Eventually, Daisy's work became her life. She learned to be self-sufficient and to view trust as a weakness. So when Henry first approached her at her country cottage about doing some gardening work for her, she was wary. But from the bleakness of an English winter to the warmth of the following summer, he steadily (not minding a few missteps, which he quickly covered up) worked his way into Daisy's heart and affections.

What is remarkable about the development of Daisy's and Henry's relationship over time is how subtly and cleverly it unfolds. The reader can see both sides clearly and make up his/her mind about Henry and Daisy.
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