And Then She Fell

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May 2, 2024

Amanda holding book pick

Canadian Indigenous author Alicia Elliott has published her debut fiction novel called And Then She Fell. When I saw the vibrant blue face of a girl with beaded earrings trapped within the branches of a tree with pink cockroaches and just had to know more. Who is she? Why is she trapped? What’s with the cockroaches?

And Then She Fell begins with Alice, a stubborn thirteen-year-old living on a reservation in Ontario. Alice and her mother have been financially struggling since her father died in a car accident two years ago. One day she makes plans for Mason to come over to Alice’s Aunt’s house while she’s babysitting her cousin. Before Mason arrives Alice hears Pocahontas talking to her through the tv. She says her name isn’t Pocahontas, it’s Matoaka and she warns Alice that Mason will ruin her life.

We flash forward to Alice living in Toronto with her husband Steve and baby Dawn. Isolated from her community and feeling like an outsider, Alice is heartbroken since her mother’s death and struggling to connect with Dawn.

Alice falls down the rabbit hole, struggling with her inner demons, trying to be a good mother, supportive wife, and write a modern retelling of The Haudenosaunee Creation Story. The unpredictable ending left me sobbing.

Recently longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, And Then She Fell is an unforgettable, emotional, smart, mysterious, surreal, dark yet sometimes funny story-within-a-story about mental illness, grief, racism, tradition, motherhood, and resilience.


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