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4.3 out of 5 stars76
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 18 March 2011
I read "The way the crow flies" first which was remarkable and just so satisfying, and although the first quarter of that book really is an elaborate background set up for what happens in the middle and end, it never lost me. "Fall on your knees" though.... so depressing, awful people, awful crimes, awful times. I stuck with it for 2/3 of the book (took me about two depressing and frustrating weeks of night time reading!) and it never showed any signs of cheering up or coming to any kind of conclusion to the plot. To me, it felt like a poor "The House of the Spirits". So disappointed, especially considering that I was expecting another "The way the crow flies" which was my book of the year by many miles last year.
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on 31 October 2000
This is the first novel by Canadian author McDonald, and winner of a Commonwealth writer's award. I can see why, I read it in two sittings on flights between Sydney and Tokyo and Tokyo to London. I was hooked, I finished it and then wished it was longer so I could continue reading. The plot is fairly convuleted and I don't have time to explain it right now, suffice to say it is a thought provoking semi-Gothic story set in provincial Canada in the early decades of the twentieth century. It reminded me somewhat of Flannery O'Connor in parts. I eagerly await more from this remarkable author.
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on 31 October 2004
One of the best books I have ever read. This is a moving story of a family of sisters and the dark secrets in their lives. I recommend this book to all my friends.
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on 17 September 1998
I highly recommend this book, but only for strong readers. It was so fascinating and well-written that despite its size, I was unable to put it down until I had finished it. This forced me to go to work sleepwalking more than once. I remain quite amazed at the talent of the author, and at her ability to tell a story that rang true despite the magical and fantastical imagery that occurs quite non-chalantly in the story. Although the author is Canadian, the story reads more like a modern South American novel than a North American one--which is a strength that gives the work more than a little originality. However, the duality of the humanity this book portrays is almost unbearable. The evil depicted in the story is so ugly I found myself wanting to vomit in the middle pages. The book's vision of the world, though redemptive in the end, is intensely depressing for the unwary.
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on 30 December 2000
I first read this book two years ago when visiting Canada where the author is from. I was hooked immediately and spent most of my holiday reading. MacDonald's writing style is gripping, and the story itself is so full of twists there is never a dull moment. When I arrived back in England I recommended 'Fall on your knees' to many of my friends, but the book had not been released here! My copy was lent to many people so that they too could share the experience of Ann-Marie MacDonald's writing. I am so pleased that it has now been released in the United Kingdom so that my friends can get their own copy and allow mine to rest peacefully on my bookshelf. I recommend that you read the book for yourself and see why it deserves five stars or more, and then give it pride of place on your bookshelf too!
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on 18 January 2016
+++ WARNING: This is what the free software of the "world-leading translation software company"(!!!) translated my original German review from into (sic!!!) - This is what I got, for being too lazy, too translate it myself. I almost collapsed, while reading it. Hilarious, so have fun! ++++

" In the year 1998 mine gave me knees” (foyk) into montreal living brother a book named “case on your, the straight in Canada as the best debut novel for sensation had provided - in the English original. The Hineintauchen into the ungwöhnliche structure of the novel required some effort. But during one period of some weeks, vergrub I formally therein, read myself slowly and carefully, was fascinated by the marvelous language of these Ann Marie MacDonald (AMM). Some sales and passages are written so fantastically poetic and obtain such an wonderful magical-surreal atmosphere that I wanted to read them 3-4 times one behind the other, to read had. Not least therefore I spent new facts thus over 8 virtual weeks on cape breton Iceland, scotia, canada.
AMM understands it masterfully to shift into the childlike view why I also with everything that happens to the sisters, so much sympathized. In my opinion this alive figure drawing of particularly the children the largest strength of AMM is even. This is valid also for successor Oman “where crows flies”, which I recommend to everyone, which likes this book here gladly.
see my criticism here:

all further qualities of “foyk” were already appreciated with the 15 criticisms with 5 stars ausführlichst. Reread please there!
Why I constantly speak of the original title “foyk” and me bristle against the inexpressibly kitschy German title “hear my begging” - no, I can not express it, äh - write - is because of the fact that this title and original deviating from more cover in group a completely wrong conception of topic and style of the book suggest. (and with this rough gaffe the marketing abbott. the German publishing house, also different readers have here a middle problem.) If I compare against it with the kandischen original “case on your knees”, then just this wonderful magical-surreal atmosphere, which is also so typical yes for Canadian films (“Leolo”), comes with the German counterpart not at all over. (see 2 original covers canada in the appendix down) instead I would expect rather a kitschy housewife Herzschmerz Tränenzieher of all first cabin.
Why one amends actually at all original book-covers. With music albums this nevertheless also none does! Germany thanks!

The 3 sisters were stamped all together three-dimensional into my original-Canadian book sides. If one opens the book up, one should wear helmet and eye protector, because the figures one jump formally against. If one tries to close it must be occupied with a book Beschwerer from Atomium, otherwise it folds itself from alone. The fate of particularly Frances and Lily interested me so burning that I would have been gladly ready to pursue it still 500 pages further. After approximately 700 pages was the book unfortunately already in the end. Harm. And really very appropriate a reader compares separated here from the marvelously alive figures with separated from a friend. Word!
The present book is for me still better than “where crows flies”. Also 17 years later “case on is your knees” still one of the best books, which I read ever. For me nearly as well as the unequalled “the perfume” by P. Süsskind."

cheers, >>>>> the notwister

+++ WARNING: This is what the free software of the "world-leading translation software company"(!!!) translated my original German review from into (sic!!!) - This is what I got, for being too lazy, too translate it myself. I almost collapsed, while reading it. Hilarious, so have fun! ++++
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on 19 August 1998
I picked up this book by chance, knowing nothing about it. It read like poetry. MacDonald's prose is beautiful, and the way that the story unfolds gradually, dipping back and forth in time, is ingenious without drawing attention to itself. But finally, what makes this book one of the best I have read in several years is a series of magnficent character portrayals, where Kathleen, Lily, Mercedes, Rose and most especially Frances came to life and still live on in my head after I had finished reading.
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on 2 April 1999
Who knew upon the first few chapters of the novel, that the plot would twist to such an ending? This is an extremely well written novel, I think, and I was literally unable to out it down. I read and finished 3/4 of the novel on a 12 hour plane trip to Japan. What I loved the most was the foreshadowing, and indiscreet details of Lily's parentage. Infact, being a reader that flies over lines in urgence to know what will happen next, I had to read the novel a second time to know exactly what was going. -One discovers more foreshadowing, and this is NOT a book that is a no-brainer. It takes some intelligence to to read this -not because of the writing style, but because of the subtle connection MacDonald makes. For example, does anyone remember Kathryn's promise to Rose? That there truly were angels, because if Kathryn died before Rose, she would come back to her. And she did, with the return of Lily many years later. Well, that was one factor I realised upon the second time of reading the novel. Little hints of what is to come marvels me as what seems to be a happy little family with a father who loves his children and a mother who loves to cook falls into a very dark and twisted ending. I strongly recommend this novel, and you wil be glad you bought it!
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VINE VOICEon 14 June 2009
I bought this book straight after reading 'The Way The Crow Flies' by the same author. I loved that book so much that I immediately wanted to read something else by her. 'Fall on Your Knees' was in fact written first. Again, most of the book is looking at the world through the eyes of children and how they deal with the most appalling circumstances. But, again all the characters are very well-rounded and one does get to know James and Materia very well. The cleverness of the writing is such that you come to realise that nothing is black and white in this book. There are many shades of grey. James had so many drawbacks and demons as a person, but in amongst the bad, every so often there is another side to him that is portrayed. However, it is fair to say that this is quite a harrowing read, because it does not deal with fairy-tale endings anywhere, but it probably mirrors real life far more closely, because life is portrayed warts and all. One wrong can produce a series of wrongs but with some rights coming through if that makes sense. I will be watching very closely for another book which I hope comes sooner rather than later, because she really is an extremely gifted writer.
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on 3 November 2015
Oh dear - very rarely I give up on a book but have been ploughing through this one for over a week and still only 55% through. Must stop now as losing will to live. Really really heavy going with a cast of some of the most unpleasant characters in literature. Struggling to care for any of them and their relentlessly miserable lives. I love reading - this tested me sorely and I am going to admit defeat :(
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