Girls Fall Down

Girls Fall Down

Title:Girls Fall Down
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781552451960
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:272 pages

Selected as the 2012 Title for One Book Toronto

A girl faints in the Toronto subway. Her friends are taken to the hospital with unexplained rashes; they complain about a funny smell in the subway. Swarms of police arrive, and then the hazmat team. Panic ripples through the city, and words like poisoning and terrorism become airborne. Soon, people are collapsing all over the city in subways and streetcars and malls, always prompted, they say, by some unidentifiable odour.

Alex was witness to this first episode. He’s a photographer: of injuries and deaths, for his job at the hospital, and of life, in his evening explorations of every nook and cranny of the city. Alex is a diabetic, now facing the very real possibility of losing his sight, and he’s determined to create a permanent vision of his city through his camera lens. As he rushes to take advantage of his dying sight, he encounters an old girlfriend – the one who shattered his heart in the eighties, while she was fighting for abortion rights and social justice and he was battling his body’s chemical demons. But now Susie-Paul is fighting her own crisis: her schizophrenic brother has been missing for months, and the streets of Toronto are more hostile than ever.

Maggie Helwig, author of the critically lauded Between Mountains, has fashioned a novel not of bold actions but of small gestures, showing how easy and gentle is the slide into paranoia, and how enormous and terrifying is the slide into love. This is a remarkable novel: romantically and politically charged, utterly convincing in its portrait of our individual and societal instability, and steadfast in its faith in redemption.


    Girls Fall Down Reviews

  • Maciek

    Maggie Helwig's novel was selected as the 2012 One Book Toronto, and it is a textbook example of a City Novel; its characters are always in Toronto, on its streets and in its neighborhoods, travel on ...

  • Stephanie

    I really wanted to love this book. I liked the idea and loved that it was so Toronto focused. Unfortunately in making this book Toronto focused also saw its downfall. Writing about the city and it's l...

  • Rachel Brown

    Like Robert Altman's films Nashville and Short Cuts and Paul Thomas Anderson's less impressive Magnolia, this novel is structured around an event which affects a large number of people, all of whom ar...

  • Shelly Sanders

    The subtlelty of Helwig's writing makes this a beautiful read, with seamless transitions from the paranoia of the aftermath of 9-11, to the fear of upcoming health crises, to the complicated love betw...

  • Tina Siegel

    The infrastructure is good - this could have been a compelling story. Unfortunately, the authorial voice is completely intrusive and overbearing. I didn't forget for a second that there was a writer b...

  • bell

    This book seeped into me, as if through skin and under fingernails, and sunk a deep, heavy mood in me. In the days I read it, I felt sadder, dirtier, depressed. The author has published poetry, which ...

  • Aban (Aby)

    The novel takes place in Toronto, with a girl collapsing on a subway train. The cause for her collapse, and the subsequent collapse of other people, is unknown. People's fears are aroused and their th...

  • Angela Montgomery

    More like a 3 1/2 stars. The book is beautifully written -- you can tell the writer is a poet -- but it sprawls. The connection between the main characters and the interesting premise is tenuous and o...

  • Kendra

    This book would have benefitted from the inclusion of a map of Toronto for reference. The novel was an homage to the city and location was a central feature to the plot. The characters movements aroun...

  • Aleksandra

    I feel like this is one of those books that the story is not too important (and not the strongest either) but what matters is the atmosphere and the general feeling captured by author. Maybe I didn't ...