The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates

It begins with man committing suicide by plunging over Niagara Falls the morning after his wedding night. His wife, Ariah, spends seven days in the mist waiting for the falls to disgorge his body. Local attorney Dirk Burnaby is transfixed by this “Widow Bride of The Falls” and he pursues her.

Marrying Dirk once again brings Ariah to Niagara Falls to begin a new marriage and a new life. As the years pass, Ariah and Dirk create a seemingly perfect existence for their family. But the tragedy that began their life together shadows them, eventually eroding their happiness. Later, Dirk’s obsession is the legal representation for the first Love Canal victims, and his dogged pursuit of it ruffles the feathers of powerful men, who then murder him by throwing him in the Falls.

In the end, it is Dirk and Ariah’s three children who are forced to deal with their parents’ legacy of dark secrets, unresolved emotions, and cruel truths. Chandler, Royall, and Juliet Burnaby each seek their answers in a different way. What they discover not only helps them come to terms with their loss, but their mother as well.

As a story, this one tends to meander excruciatingly in parts.


6 Responses to “The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates”

  1. highly intriguing. email me, please?

  2. arey, nai nai. this one is kind of skippable.

  3. arrrre ..nahin! I wanted you to email me. I had just finished reading It Does Not Die.. and filled to the brim with exuberance and a sort of satisfaction. Perhaps the prose is not right up there along with the best of them, but certain parts of the book were so deep and I could identify with them. 🙂
    Just wanted to thank you personally and say hello as well. perhaps I was all the more involved in it because I was going to India(now back, ofcourse!)

  4. Thank you for the review, I have always been curious about this book!

    Joyce Carol Oates is an amazingly prolific writer but I find some of her books so rushed like she can’t wait to finish with it and get started on a new one. I am told this book has some wonderful descriptions of the Falls…if you were moved by any of them could I ask you to give me the page #’s, I will hunt it down at the library.


  5. dearmost Lotus, it’s been a while, but them Falls descriptions, as i recall, come right in the beginning, chapter one, where the guy is compelled to jump.

  6. I tend to agree…rather meandering!

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