The Girl Who Fell from the Sky (Paperback)

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This is one of my favorite books this year. Author Heidi Durrow (who grew up in Portland) does a wonderful job of describing what it is like to struggle between two cultures/racial identities. Her descriptions of Portland are right on--I remember going to the Wonder Bread factory outlet with my grandma (who lived in NE Portland) and had friends who went to Holy Redeemer school. Wondering what I'm talking about? Read the book and find out!

— Jenny Cohen


Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy after a fateful morning on their Chicago rooftop.

Forced to move to a new city, with her strict African American grandmother as her guardian, Rachel is thrust for the first time into a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring a constant stream of attention her way. It’s there, as she grows up and tries to swallow her grief, that she comes to understand how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity.

This searing and heartwrenching portrait of a young biracial girl dealing with society’s ideas of race and class is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.

About the Author

A graduate of Stanford University, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and Yale Law School, Heidi W. Durrow has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the American Scandinavian Foundation, and the Lois Roth Endowment and a Fellowship for Emerging Writers from the Jerome Foundation. Her writing has been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, the Literary Review, and others.

Praise For…

"An auspicious debut . . . [Durrow] has crafted a modern story about identity and survival." --Washington Post

— Miami Herald

"The Girl Who Fell from the Sky can actually fly. . . Its energy comes from its vividly realized characters, from how they perceive one another. Durrow has a terrific ear for dialogue, an ability to summon a wealth of hopes and fears in a single line." --The New York Times Book Review

— Dallas Morning News

"A heartbreaking debut . . . keeps the reader in thrall." --Boston Globe

— NPR’s Morning Edition

"[An] affecting, exquisite debut novel . . . Durrow's powerful novel is poised to find a place among classic stories of the American experience." --Miami Herald

— The Christian Science Monitor

"Hauntingly beautiful prose . . . Exquisitely told . . . Rachel's tale has the potential of becoming seared in your memory." --Dallas Morning News

— The New York Times Book Review

"Rachel’s voice resonated in my reading mind in much the same way as did that of the young protagonist of The House on Mango Street. there’s an achingly honest quality to it; both wise and naive, it makes you want to step between  the pages to lend comfort.” 

— Ms. Magazine

"Stunning . . . What makes Durrow’s novel soar is her masterful sense of voice, her assured, nuanced handling of complex racial issues—and her heart.” 

"The Girl Who Fell from the Sky can actually fly . . . Its energy comes from  its vividly realized characters . . . Durrow has a terrific ear for dialogue, an  ability to summon a wealth of hopes and fears in a single line."

"An auspicious debut . . . [Durrow] has crafted a modern story about identity  and survival.”

"The Girl Who Fell from the Sky is that rare thing: a post-postmodern novel  with heart that weaves a circle of stories about race and self-discovery into  a tense and sometimes terrifying whole.”

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781616200152
ISBN-10: 1616200154
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: January 11th, 2011
Pages: 272
Language: English