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Falling Together Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 4, 2011
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Amazon Exclusive Essay: Marisa de los Santos on Falling Together
I am an incorrigible homebody. I like my own pillow, my own imperfect showerhead, my coffee and pizza and bagel shops, my little rituals. I am quite old lady-ish about it. I like to write in—and only in—my radically unbeautiful office (I share it with guinea pigs). I like to drive my kids to swimming. At night, the moment when I shut my book, turn off my bedside table light, and know that everyone is sleeping under the same roof, our roof, is as close to a state of grace as I ever hope to come. I have always been this person.
So it is probably not surprising that, until now, my writing has stuck close to home, as well. In the first two novels, my characters did a little meandering but rarely outside of the 95 corridor, never outside of the country. They needed no passports; they never suffered jet lag. And now, with Falling Together, what have I done but put Will, Augusta, Jason, and my poor aviophobic Pen on airplane after airplane and sent them clear across the world? What was I thinking? I was thinking about the story, mostly, and that these were people who, each in her or his own way needed to go in quest of something (apart from Augusta, who has everything she needs). Also, I was thinking that the Philippines, where my father grew up, is too beautiful, too much a part of the landscape of my heart not to write about.
I visited the Philippines for the first time when I was 22 and on Christmas Day, woke up to voluminous sunshine, enfolding heat, a houseful of relatives, and a roasted suckling pig, pointy-eared, tiger’s eye-orange, and smelling like bliss. I was not in Kansas (or Virginia) anymore. I rode in dazzlingly painted jeepneys; I visited roadside fruit stands as resplendent as parade-floats and cemeteries in which people laughed, ate, and talked as though they were in their own living rooms and the gravestones were furniture or friends. I ate a lot: the little fists of bread called Elordes after the boxer; rice sticky with coconut milk; fish with blue bones like a secret; fruit shaped like sea anemones, hedgehogs, brains; heavenly, palm-sized mangoes with flesh you can scoop like custard.
Amid all of these discoveries, the best part was the people, a branch (or palm frond) of my family tree that I had only seen in glimpses. Now, this family surrounded me. I learned that traits I thought were uniquely my father’s—having conversations with his eyebrows, a brusque, instinctive generosity that shrugged off thanks—were family or cultural traits. I learned that home is a word that can stretch. Since that first visit, I’ve been back many times since, especially since my parents retired there six years ago, and every time, home stretches to include something new: a coral reef, a helper’s bewitching baby, a soup made of mung beans, a tiny tarsier’s enormous eyes.
In Falling Together, Pen goes to the Philippines in search of her friend, but I think she finds more than that. She sits in a banca boat with a school of jackfish shoaling beneath it and thinks, awestruck, “All this time, every second: this.” She experiences the world as big and small at the same time. While I sit at my desk, drive my children around, sleep under my roof, all the time, every second, there is another version of home, my home, vibrantly alive and unfolding itself thousands of miles away. The least I could do was put it in a book.
A Look Inside Falling Together
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“Readers who enjoy the connection forged through the ties of family and friendships should find much to savor in de los Santos’s comforting, leisurely paced novel.” (Library Journal on FALLING TOGETHER)
“A satisfying novel about friends rediscovering one anotherand confronting unwelcome truthsat their college reunion.” (People on FALLING TOGETHER)
“[FALLING TOGETHER] is a good, solid read that succeeds in being both funny and heartbreaking. De los Santos has a knack for best-friend banter and stays true to the emotions involved in letting go of treasured relationships.” (Booklist on FALLING TOGETHER)
“Falling Together explores the ways our familial relationships and friendships affect who we are and who we’re becoming…the appeal of de los Santos’ books remains the intimacy with which the reader gets to know each character.” (BookPage on FALLING TOGETHER)
“Brimming with the author’s trademark wit, vivid prose and captivating characterizations, FALLING TOGETHER brilliantly explores our deepest human connections and confirms Marisa de los Santos as one of America’s most exciting contemporary novelists.” (Bookreporter.com)
“Prose that shines in moments of tenderness.” (People on BELONG TO ME)
“By the book’s end, humanity is discovered in the unlikeliest places, and Cornelia learns that tempting as it is, you can’t always judge a woman by her hairstyle.” (New York Times on BELONG TO ME)
“De los Santos keeps us totally engaged with these fragile creatures, who get under our skin and, ultimately, into our hearts. Highly recommended.” (Library Journal (starred review) on BELONG TO ME)
“Witty and intelligent.” (Kirkus Reviews on BELONG TO ME)
“Fans of de los Santos’s previous heartfelt novels will rejoice to learn of her new one, and those readers just discovering her with Falling Together will be thrilled to hear that she has a backlist they can devour.” (SheKnows.com on FALLING TOGETHER)
Top Customer Reviews
Marisa De Los Santos takes these three young people, Pen, Will, and Cat, and gives then quirks, beliefs, errors, and hardship. They love one another as friends until they don't. The blow-up among them leaves each adrift. A college reunion promises to help them sort things out, but it's not that easy. To say they would travel to the ends of the earth to redeem their friendship is putting it lightly.
But what emerges is a portrait of people growing, changing, and learning to live their lives with joy, dumping guilt and past grievances.
"Falling Together" is an uplifting and powerful story of friendship, finding love, and looking at the world each day with the idea of living the moment for its beauty. Highly recommended!
The internal dialogue is one of de los Santos' great gifts--so real and wise--but there was just too much of it. Coupled with a denouement so unbelievable that it put the stake in my reader's heart and mind, I am disappointed--even though the book was utterly readable and beautifully written.
Her novels & beautifully-crafted characters offer the best alternate reality. Everyone's just a little bit smarter, a little bit wittier & a little bit more poignant than in real life.
Pen, Will & Cat are the friends you wish you had in college, so it's an outright pleasure to travel back through their halcyon memories of UVA & early friendship.
That said, like the rest of us, these three have to grow up, and life gets complicated & messy.
So the reader has the privilege of knowing them in college & then watching them navigate the choppy waters of their 20s & 30s to figure out if their bond in college can survive the sobering reality of adulthood.
Plain & simple, "Falling Together" is a great read. It's a guilty pleasure to be awash in this novel & surrounded by its charming cast of characters.
But before I continue my rant...lets talk about the story.....
Pen, Will, and Cat were best friends in college. They were more than best friends...they were connected emotionally, metaphysically, but never physically ( it would have been a bit more interesting if there was a triangle there...but their friendship was too PURE for that). The did everything together, lived together, went to parties together, ate together, and judged people together. Then one day Cat falls in love with a man that Will and Pen don't like, loath is probably a better word, and the friendship disintegrates. They make a deal to never contact each other again and they stick to it for 10 years.
10 years later....
Will is a children's author who sounds pretty cool and sexy in the beginning but is washed out by the other personalities in the book as the story progresses.Read more ›
Unfortunately, I have been really disappointed so far. In fact, I will admit that I have not finished the book but think it's worthwhile to mention that I don't think I'm going to.
First of all, I can't bring myself to care about these characters. We are given a few small glimpses into their past...how they met in college, a small instance of how they stood up for each other as friends, but honestly, just really superficial information and not nearly enough to see why they are really friends and especially the pull of Cat's character. In fact, Cat seems really erratic and self centered.
I found the writing style and plot in this book poorly written (or edited) and very chopping. In fact, when the chapter about Augusta's father popped up it seemed so out there that I felt I had missed something. We are getting too many small snippets of storyline, characters, etc., and nothing is really binding them together. While I don't like it when authors do this, it almost would have been better if she had given us alternating chapters from each character's POV, like she did in "Belong to Me."
I'm sorry, but nothing about this story makes me care enough to find out what is going to happen.
**Also, note to publishers, every other set of pages in the ARC were blurry. This defnitely added to the difficulty in reading and enjoying this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
book is one of the best I've read in many years. God bless all those who try to create inspiring fiction for all of us!
The first two thirds of the book was engaging , but the last third was a total snooze! Far too whiney !Published 1 month ago by J. Rog
Love every book she writes. I am always sad when I have finished.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Although the lush language that Marisa de
lots Santos is well-known for is in abundance from the first page, this story moves at a snail's pace which becomes increasingly... Read more
This is a very good author. I have read some of her other books and she does a good job with her characterization and the depth of her stories. I really enjoyed this.Published 9 months ago by Isabella
Got lost at times with the long descriptions. All in all, it was a good book. Look forward to more books by this authorPublished 10 months ago by Carol Dalamangas
Not my fav de los Santos, but a good, solid read. I loved the heroine, very relatable. I liked how she depicted the father of her child. The little girl is perfect! Read morePublished 10 months ago by Ann L. Miller
I enjoyed this book, though it was not as good as Belong to Me, in my opinion. Still a great read.Published 11 months ago by Leigh Middleton
How does she pull me in so quickly and completely? I loved this novel, and I can't wait to read the next.Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer