Gutsy and provocative, Falling Under is the story of a reclusive young artist whose past begins to catch up with her when she falls in love. To find a breakthrough in both art and life, she must come to terms with her own dark secrets. Written in spare, crisp prose and marked by wry humor, Falling Under is a gripping contemporary tale of human weakness, friendship, and hard-earned redemption.
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About the Author
Danielle Younge-Ullman is a novelist, playwright and freelance writer. She studied English and Theater at McGill University, then returned to her hometown of Toronto to work as professional actor for ten years. Her one-act play, 7 Acts of Intercourse, debuted at Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival in 2005. Danielle lives in Toronto with her husband, two daughters, and their dog, Finny. Falling Under is her first novel.
For more information including updates, a book club reading guide and links to interviews and podcasts, visit the author’s website.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Falling Under is amazing contemporary fiction, but to learn that it is a debut novel for Danielle Younge-Ullman makes it even more special. Younge-Ullman does a fantastic job of creating a broken heroine in Mara Foster. The author portrays Mara's dark world where she "literally" fears the world, everything in it, and herself, most of all. Younge-Ullman deftly introduces readers to Mara's past through effective narration, but not necessarily predictable flashbacks. No. This talented author just takes you there in first person present tense. I love that! I write in this technique as well and appreciate the dedication and intricacy of it. Younge-Ullman also utilizes first person past tense and second person for some of the flashback narration and effectively conveys Mara's pain so well this way. It's beautifully done. Younge-Ullman keeps the story moving and readers guessing as to what has happened in Mara's past relationships, especially with Lucas, that make her so fearful. Readers will be intrigued with the introduction of Erik and the inexplicable tie in their relationship that makes them so dark and needy of one another. The subtext with her best friend Bernadette is also compelling. And, when Mara meets Hugo, it would appear he's set to be the ultimate hero and rescue her, since he appears to serve so well as the calm to the storm that is Mara. It is easy to discern Hugo's love for her early on, but Younge-Ullman avoids the predictable cliche of having Hugo be the one to save her. No. Younge-Ullman leads readers further into Mara's dark past and allows them to really feel her pain for themselves. Readers will come away enlightened as to why Mara's so bent on self-destruction and, perhaps, even comprehend how it could win out. I'll leave it at that. This debut novel, Falling Under, is honest, heartbreaking, at times, yet so satisfying. The writing is amazing and so well done that it reads like a sheet of music. Here's one of my favorite passages: "I feel his eyes on me. He knows if I'm here, I've done everything I can to still the storm inside, to put all the demons back into their boxes and seal the lids. But sometimes they won't go. Sometimes my ears are full of screaming, and sometimes, like tonight, the voices are mine." And this one: "You haven't had his lips pressing onto yours, or heard the deep, low whimper that comes from the back of his throat when your lips move in response. You haven't had him hold your face in his hands and felt him shudder, and no painful, heated ache has rocketed down from your open lips to your tongue and fired along your nerve endings and made you feel like your body was on fire. But now you have. And the world is a different place. Locked together in a tangled embrace, you travel past desire, past time and age and circumstance, past, even, the barriers of body, to a place where you are together, linked in the deepest sense. And for a few timeless moments, you are not alone." Danielle Younge-Ullman is a fantastic writer. And, all I can say is more, more, more! Katherine Owen Author of Seeing Julia & Not To Us
Oh boy - where to start?! Danielle Younge-Ullman's debut novel Falling Under grabs you from the first page and just doesn't let go until you reluctantly turn the last. Falling Under opens with a gut-wrenching scene in which a little girl - Mara- witnesses the ugly end of her parent's marriage. And discovers that there is no Santa Claus. Fast forward to the present. Mara is a grown woman now. She is an artist working from home - as she has trouble leaving the house. She imagines every bad thing that might happen and becomes paralyzed with fear. Her social circle is limited to her best friend Bernadette and her agent. Bernadette is active and outgoing, always involved in a social cause. Mara is one of her causes. 'Bernadette is saving the world. I can barely save myself'. She also has a love/hate relationship with Erik, her lover, who she only sees when she feels like she's on the edge of a precipice. Erik is emotionally damaged as well. The story alternates between present and past. As young Mara grows older we learn more and more of how she came to be trapped in the small world she has inhabits and why she is unable to function normally. Younge-Ullman has uncannily captured the hurt, the betrayal, the angst and the despair of Mara. The descriptions and dialogues of her dysfunctional family and relationships are raw and unsettling. Mara uses her body to please others and punish herself. While some readers may be disturbed by the sexual scenes, they are integral to the plot. When Mara meets a man she thinks she can love, the two stories collide and we learn the full history behind Mara's inability to love and let herself be loved. 'Certain memories, certain thoughts, are holes....Holes ripped in you, through which precious things escape and leave you wanting, needing, gaping open......And you are left empty, a skeleton, a shell with wind rushing through you and a sensation of sinking, barely existing...' No spoiler - but I loved the ending - it kept me thinking long after I finished reading. Falling Under is a outstanding debut from this bright new Canadian author. This intense, edgy novel would generate lots of discussion for a book club. Younge-Ullman is also part of a group of debut authors who regularly 'grog' 'group blog' at The Debutante Ball.
When she was a young girl, Mara Foster's parents acrimoniously divorced besides learning Santa was a fraud that Christmas Mara knew dad was never coming back. She took it personally blaming herself and it still affects her relationships as an adult. Mara always sees the dark side to humans as she suffers from the anxiety disorder agoraphobia.------------ Men do not want to deal with Mara¿s issues. That is until she meets Hugo, who wants to be with her in spite of her phobias. He encourages her to move on, but to do so Mara must look deep inside herself a thought that frightens the young woman, but enough to run from or towards Hugo remains to be seen as she loathes touching and he wants intimacy.------------- FALLING UNDER is a one woman show as the story line deals with Mara¿s phobias that make it impossible for her to have an intimate loving relationship though in some ways she does have that with her only friend who is as angst laden with demons as she is. The storyline focuses on whether besieged Mara can move past her terrors encouraged by the kind Hugo. Readers who relish a realistic study of a tormented lonely person will appreciate FALLING UNDER as the quince will wonder whether Mara finds her groove or remains tortured in self afflicted hell. PS the ending is realistic but not easy to swallow.---------------- Harriet Klausner