Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Falling to Earth Paperback – March 5, 2013
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
"Inexorably, tragedy spawns tragedy in Falling to Earth. It's the poise with which Southwood approaches it that makes it so heartbreaking." (The Chicago Reader)
"Southwood's prose is vibrant and clear, and Falling to Earth's thrilling opening immediately draws in the reader with its brutal depiction of the power of nature." (BookPage)
"Southwood grounds abstract notions of faith, community, luck, and heritage in the conflicted thoughts of her distinct and finely realized characters." (Publishers Weekly)
"Her vivid descriptions of the Tri-State Tornado and the carnage left in its wake are so gripping that they will leave readers breathless...Readers looking for an emotionally true work of historical fiction will enjoy the complexity of the characters and their relationships." (BookPage)
Top Customer Reviews
Paul Graves, owner of Graves Lumber, hears wailing and screaming as he hurries home after the tornado. Bodies lie everywhere, automobiles are overturned, and a woman is "frozen, screaming under a tree at a child's body caught high in its branches." Paul's children, he realizes, have escaped the fate of those killed in the collapse of the elementary school; his children were home with the chicken pox. The rest of the family - Paul's wife Mae and his mother Lavinia - have also escaped death, having had time to reach the basement shelter that Paul built. Soon the Graves' front porch is being used as a makeshift morgue, with as over a dozen bodies brought there, many of them as-yet-unidentified children.
The Graves family is unique, the only ones in the community who have escaped the tornado unscathed.Read more ›
And therein lies the strength of Southwood's brilliant debut novel, taking us where we don't expect to go, and accepting the reasonableness of her proposition: that even the best of us can succumb to envy, pettiness, and the propagation of evil; and, worse, can find resurrection from our repulsive descent only in an appalling leveling of suffering. You may wish to take this as a caution and a guarantee: FALLING TO EARTH will impress upon you, as it impresses you, an alternate lens through which to view a disaster, and you may not find it amiable.
Southwood transports us back to 1925, to the Tri-State Tornado, the deadliest in U.S. history, that spawned in Missouri, ravaged southern Illinois, where it took the most lives, and dissipated in Indiana, covering nearly 240 miles in under four hours, ending about 700 lives.
The novel opens as the storm strikes fictional Marah, IL, nearly sweeping lumberyard owner Paul Graves into the heavens.Read more ›
The story centers on a tragedy of unimaginable proportions - a tornado hits the small Illinois town of Marah in 1925, causing grievous devastation and loss in the homes of every single resident of the town.
That one is Paul Graves, a man of dignity and integrity, who lives with his wife Mae, his three young children and his mother, Lavinia. Incredibly, nothing in Paul's life is touched - not his family, not his home, and not his thriving lumber business...which, in fact, is even more in demand as townsfolk order coffins for the burials of their loved ones.
As the townspeople are forced to bear up under nearly unbearable grief, their envy of Paul's "unfair" providence reaches a fever pitch and they begin to turn on him - and against him - in droves. Paul, meanwhile, labors under extreme survivor's guilt as Mae increasingly falls into a dark depression.
Kate Southwood writes, "A tornado is a ravenous thing, untroubled by the distinction in tearing one man apart and gently setting another down a little distance away. It is resolute and makes its unheeding progress until, bloated and replete, it dissipates. A tornado is a dead thing and cannot acknowledge blame.. If a tornado smashes your house or takes your child, it does no good to blame it...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Powerful, tragic, and beautifully written. Recommended to me by my local librarian. They know stuff!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A well written story that captures the best and the worst of human nature in the wake of a devastating natural disaster..Published 5 months ago by Barbara Crawford
Interesting take on how some people see another's good fortune with envy and mistrust. A thoughtful look at survivor mentality.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was not only a very good story, and though it happened many years the message behind the story has so much meaning. Read morePublished 10 months ago by M Robertson
In the end I enjoyed this book but it took me a while to get into it.. It just seemed a little predictable, obvious and wordy. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dickie Nichols
This is one of the best books I've read in years. Yes, it's terribly painful to read but it is written so beautifully and with so much emotion that you are transported into their... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Lee Anne Embry
I kept going back and forth about giving it two or three stars. But I did finish and did not resort to skimming, like with other books which did not hook me... Read more
Falling to Earth is a remarkable book, and a surprising one, at that. What I expected was the story of a small town recovering from a devastating tornado, cheerfully rebuilding -... Read morePublished 13 months ago by jacque Masumian