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The Falling Woman (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 14 Nov 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (14 Nov 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575133147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575133143
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 684,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The NEBULA AWARD-winning novel of Mayan magic in the modern world.

About the Author

Patrice Ann Murphy was born in Washington in 1955, and is an award-winning American science writer and author of science fiction and fantasy novels. Her second novel, THE FALLING WOMAN (1986), won the NEBULA AWARD, and she also won a NEBULA AWARD in the same year for her novelette, 'Rachel in Love'. Her short story collection, POINTS OF DEPARTURE (1990) won the PHILIP K. DICK AWARD, and her 1990 novella, 'Bones', won the WORLD FANTASY AWARD in 1991. She lives in San Francisco.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Hole VINE VOICE on 4 Dec 2002
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I enjoyed Pat Murphy's first novel so much and her short stories. I have since discovered that this book won the 1987 Nebula Award for best novel. This surprised me a little because it is not actually science fiction: the category on the back cover is Fiction/Fantasy.
The novel is again written in the first person which is unusual in that there are two major characters, mother and daughter. The way she achieves this is by subtitling each chapter with the name of the character.
The story is set in an archaeological site in Yucatan. Elizabeth Butler, the mother, sees 'ghosts' from the past. Some consider her mad and she has in the past been locked up in a madhouse. Her daughter who's going through a bad patch, due to the death of her father and break-up of a relationship goes to stay with her mother who she hasn't really known since about 5 years old. The daughter also starts seeing images of the past. One of the shadows of the past is a priestess who can also see them and talks with the mother. There is a subplot about the daughter and one of the other women on the dig having romantic interests in the local town.
I didn't think this novel was as good as her first, or the short story Rachel in Love. She seems to be trying to say something about relationships between mother and daughter, male and female. This aspect of the novel is unsuccessful as far as I am concerned. The fantasy side works fairly well however.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Feb 2001
Format: Paperback
Pat Murphy skillfully weaves a tale of a Mother and Daughter brought together by only one thing that they have in common, they can see the past. Elizabeth Butler is a quiet woman who keeps herself to herself, she does not become attached to material possessions, it seems that all she has is what she sees, and this is the past. Her daughter Diane, who she left when she was 4 years old, suddenly becomes a part of her life again after Dianes Father dies of a heart attack. Diane goes to find her Mother in South America, where she is on an archaeological dig. Pat Murphy tells the story of how Elizabeth and Diane save each other from the past, from the images that have haunted Elizabeth for many years, and those images which her daughter has also started to see. This book is one of, if not the best novel I have ever read, such thought and skill has produced a "must read" book. Especially for any archaeolgy enthusiasts!
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By Federhirn on 18 Sep 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I recommend reading this book without reading the blurb on the back cover (or the introduction). They give more of the direction of the plot away than they should. If you don't mind speculative fiction / elements of the fantastic in your novels, I promise that this one is superb.

Elizabeth is an archaeologist on a dig in Central America. She can glimpse the past, especially at dusk and dawn. One day, one of the people she sees, a powerful woman, looks at her, and starts to talk to her...

Diane is Elizabeth's daughter, joining her mother on the dig after her father / Elizabeth's ex-husband dies. Diane hasn't seen her mother since childhood, and isn't sure what she has gone out to find.

The book tells the story in chapters alternating between the two viewpoints. It starts out intriguing, building up a world and characters carefully, one step at a time. Elizabeth's back story is slowly constructed, through conversations and memories, while Diane is finding out things not just about her mother, but about herself as well. Gradually, the story gains tension, a sense of the uncanny, a foreboding feel...

This is a rare novel: it is speculative fiction where most of the characters are women. Not just women, but realistic, credible women, complex, competent, sometimes confused or confusing, sometimes sweaty and smelly, sometimes unkind and uncommunicative and flawed. There are male characters in the novel too, also convincing and authentic, but at its heart, the plot is driven by a triangle of female characters.
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Format: Paperback
Elizabeth is a troubled woman archeologist. She left behind her husband and daughter to pursue a dream. She also sees the shades of the past. Are they just visions of what once was, or are they ghosts? This haunts her through her life and she wonders about her own sanity.
Her daughter Diane comes to the latest archeological dig in search of her mother. Why did her mother really leave her? What haunts her, troubles her? Diane seeks to understand her mother while just barely able to bury her own resentment for the abandonment she experienced.

This story, however, isn't just about family dynamics, or lack thereof. This is a story of the present which abruptly becomes entwined with the past. One of Elizabeth's visions see her and talks to her. Elizabeth and Diane become embroiled in a dangerous game where they may not survive. Can love triumph over the danger they face? You'll have to read this WONDERFUL book to find out. This was a truly satisfying read that kept me up past my bedtime and wishing for more. Read this book!
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