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When 17-year-old Norman Pelham departs his father's Vermont farm to join the Union army, he can little anticipate the incredulity and scorn that his return--accompanied by his former-slave bride--will elicit. The newlyweds make a go of country life, Leah's industry wins the locals' begrudging respect, and the two transact a fidelity that only rarely acknowledges their racial dissimilarities. Leah, however, who fled her native North Carolina after lashing out violently against a lifetime of abuse, believes an inescapable retribution stalks her. And so, beset with guilt and anxious to confront her own past, she briefly leaves Norman and their three children, throwing all five lives into disarray. Her desperation eventually reemerges in her youngest child, the volatile Jamie, who abandons farm life for bootlegging and rash romance. When his own ruthlessness undoes him, it falls to his son, Foster, to uncover the lingering mystery of Leah's life and death, as well as the obstinate racism that has stalked the Pelhams.
Throughout its pages, In the Fall suggests that identity consists of an undeniable duality--that although we can make of ourselves what we will, we can never completely efface what made us. Foster, upon returning to the farm his father had left years before, understands that it is "a world he was not even sure he wanted part of, and yet a part of it belonged to him by the simple fact of his existence." Unlike his grandmother, though, who found only a disillusioning misery in self-discovery, or his father, who simply shirked the quest, Foster is confident of redemption. Despite a few prolonged episodes and an occasionally portentous dialogue, Jeffrey Lent's debut is admirable, a sobering and painstaking chronicle of the persistence of tragedy and the irrefutability of hope. --Ben Guterson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This was one of those books that wound up making me angry. At first it was really hard to get into. I mean seriously difficult to move the pages. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Catherine Loves Heathcliff
Rarely does a day pass when something from this book doesn't cross my mind. These characters will always be with me. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Roger Kenyon
This novel, published in 2000 and making quite a spash then, is a story which starts as the Civil War is ending and Norman Pelham is aided by a runaway slave girl in Virginia, and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Schmerguls
an ok book but not to my liking tho it was recommended by one whose choice of books I respect.Published 11 months ago by roxa k
I love this story...historical fiction spanning three generations. Its addresses race, guilt and forbidden love. I would read it again.Published 12 months ago by Buns
I became so caught up in this story, I am still thinking about the characters in this book. I miss them, didn't want the story to end. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Julie Daniels
I enjoyed "In the Fall" as a story and as a historical reminder. However, I found the insights peppered throughout the book to be most thought-provoking and often... Read morePublished 18 months ago by flash