Chitika

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky is a disquieting, haunting coming-of-age novel that delves into issues of race, but digs far deeper for truths into the hearts of its characters.

Told from multiple points of view, the story is primarily Rachel’s, the daughter of a black G.I. and a Danish woman, who is the lone survivor in her family after a tragic fall from a rooftop. Sent to live with her grandmother in Portland after her father is unable to care for her, Rachel grows up in a binary world where her light-skin and blue eyes are a contradiction to black identity. Undergirding Rachel’s struggles with her identity in this new world are the relationships she forms with her grandmother and aunt, her aunt’s boyfriend and his daughter, various boyfriends and girls at her school, and Brick, a young man who bore witness to Rachel’s tragedy. As Rachel grows up into a young woman, she is forced to reconcile her mother’s desperate act with her own search for identity as a biracial woman.

Winner of the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, Heidi W. Durrow’s debut novel, is alive and bristling with a story that avoids easy clich├ęs and stereotypes. Her characters live and breathe with an honesty rarely seen in fiction. Sad and moving, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky is ultimately a hopeful novel of reconciliation.

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