“In this resonant first novel… Ms. MacDonald skillfully shifts the story backward and forward in time, giving it a mythic quality that allows dark, half-buried secrets to be gracefully and chillingly revealed.”The New York Times
Following the curves of history in the first half of the twentieth century, Fall On Your Knees takes us from haunted Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, through the battle fields of World War One, to the emerging jazz scene of New York city and into the lives of four unforgettable sisters. The mythically charged Piper family – James, a father of intelligence and immense ambition, Materia, his Lebanese child-bride, and their daughters: Kathleen, a budding opera Diva; Frances, the incorrigible liar and hell-bent bad girl; Mercedes, obsessive Catholic and protector of the flock; and Lily, the adored invalid who takes us on a quest for truth and redemption – is supported by a richly textured cast of characters. Together they weave a tale of inescapable family bonds, of terrible secrets, of miracles, racial strife, attempted murder, birth and death, and forbidden love. Moving and finely written, Fall On Your Knees is by turns dark and hilariously funny, a story – and a world – that resonate long after the last page is turned.
“The uniqueness of MacDonald’s voice, and of her approach, lies in her ability to distill…She can capture, deftly, the fleeting moment, the fragmented feelings that make up so much of what we term ‘understanding’. Thus, complex experiences become single, vivid images. It is a rare talent that can produce it for others to see.” The London Times