THE FALLS

The Falls is a novel by Joyce Carol Oates, originally published in 2004 by the Ecco Press, and winner of the 2005 Prix Femina Etranger.

It is 1950 and, after a disastrous honeymoon night, Ariah Erskine’s young husband throws himself into the roaring waters of Niagara Falls. Ariah, “the Widow Bride of the Falls,” begins a relentless seven-day vigil in the mist, waiting for his body to be found. At her side is confirmed bachelor and pillar of the community Dirk Burnaby, who is unexpectedly drawn to her. What follows is a passionate love affair, marriage, and family — a seemingly perfect existence. But tragedy soon takes over their lives, poisoning their halcyon years with distrust, greed, and murder.

 

After the tragedy of her husband, the rest of the book, mainly, is the story of her life afterward and family, and how she finds love, then loses it when Ariah’s new husband becomes engrossed in his work on what was to become the Love Canal case. The novel spans the time between 1950, when environmental issues were literally unheard of and 1978, when these issues became the object of nationwide interest and concern. The author makes use of information about the Love Canal scandal and uses information provided by the two books by Lois Marie Gibbs, Love Canal: My Story, and Love Canal: The Story Continues.

Download the book: The Falls.pdf

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