Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pg. 69: "Falling Through the Earth"

Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir is Danielle Trussoni's first book. It won the Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award for 2005-06 and was chosen as one of the New York Times Top 10 books for 2006.

Here's what Danielle said about page 69 of her book:
At the heart of my book, Falling Through the Earth, is the relationship between my father and his children. Page 69 happens to be the culmination of one of the most intense scenes in the book, when my father tells me, my brother and my sister that my mother has had a miscarriage. The scene illustrates the brash, unsentimental, and often-times emotionally oblivious nature of my father:

Maureen (our babysitter) finished her call and said, “Your mom is in the hospital. Your dad will be home in an hour or so. He’ll explain everything.”

When Dad came home, we ran down the driveway, meeting his truck. He climbed out, grabbed his toolbox, and walked inside to the kitchen, where he took a can of beer from the fridge, popped the top, and flicked it in the trash. Kelly and Matt and I gathered around him, barraging him with questions. Where is Mom? Why is she in the hospital? Is she sick?

Dad said, “I have some good news and some bad news.”

Good news first! Good news first!

“Good news: Your mom had a baby.”

Dad paused while Kelly, Matt and I whooped and screamed. A baby? A boy or a girl? What’s its name? A baby!

Dad took a sip of his beer, waiting for us to quiet down.

“Bad news: It was born too soon and died.”

The three of us looked at our father, too stunned to speak. Dad leaned against the countertop and tapped a Paul Mall filterless from the maroon-and-white pack. He lit the cigarette and looked out the window. A slow, sickening sensation of loss grew in my body.
Many thanks to Danielle for the input.

Click here and here to read excerpts from the book.

Among the praise for Falling Through the Earth:
“A finely tuned account of the relationship between Trussoni and her father, a man who betrays the people he loves, visiting on them torments he can't, despite his best effort, contain… The affection, respect and humor she brings to the task of revealing this complicated individual is testimony both to her creative abilities and to the generosity of her spirit.”
-- New York Times Book Review

“Trussoni has taken an extended trip to hell and come back with treasures from that drunken, burning, broken place. She writes of the effects of war, the ‘pity of war, and the pity that war distills’ without a hint of self-pity, with surprising humor, disarming candor, a hard-won wisdom and with uncannily sure-footed prose. Even if this book were not urgently important and devastatingly timely, I’d still urge you to read it for the sheer triumph of the author’s gift.”
-- Alexandra Fuller, author of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight

“Trussoni’s memoir is a richly textured history of her father’s war and the long term effects his service had on her and her family. With Falling Through the Earth she delivers a salient and timely reminder that a war’s victims aren’t limited to those in uniform nor demarcated by geography. This is an important and harrowing story.”
-- Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead

“A heartbreaking story of missed connections, made all the more painful by the author’s refusal to indulge in self-pity. . . . This excellent memoir is much more than the sum of its parts. Free from melodrama, Trussoni’s remembrance describes with painful acuity how war can come home in the most subtle ways.”
-- People
Click here to read an interview with Danielle.

To listen to WNYC's interview, click here. Click here to read Kate Saunders' review of Falling Through the Earth in the London Times.

Click here to read "Labor in Translation," Danielle's brief essay on how she discovered she "was no longer the most important person in the world."

Visit Danielle Trussoni's official website.

Previous "page 69 tests":
Andrew Blechman, Pigeons
Anne Perry, A Christmas Secret
Elaine Showalter, Faculty Towers
Kat Richardson, Greywalker
Michael Bess, Choices Under Fire
Masha Hamilton, The Camel Bookmobile
Alex Beam, Gracefully Insane
Nicholas Lemann, Redemption
Jason Sokol, There Goes My Everything
Wendy Steiner, Venus in Exile
Josh Chafetz, Democracy’s Privileged Few
Anne Frasier, Pale Immortal
Michael Lewis, The Blind Side
David A. Bell, The First Total War
Brett Ellen Block, The Lightning Rule
Rosanna Hertz, Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice
Jason Starr, Lights Out
Robert Vitalis, America's Kingdom
Stephen Elliott, My Girlfriend Comes To The City And Beats Me Up
Colin McGinn, The Power of Movies
Sean Chercover, Big City, Bad Blood
Sigrid Nunez, The Last of Her Kind
Stanley Fish, How Milton Works
James Longenbach, The Resistance to Poetry
Margaret Lowrie Robertson, Season of Betrayal
Sy Montgomery, The Good Good Pig
Allison Burnett, The House Beautiful
Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, A History
Ed Lynskey, The Dirt-Brown Derby
Cindy Dyson, And She Was
Simon Blackburn, Truth
Brian Freeman, Stripped
Alyson M. Cole, The Cult of True Victimhood
Jeff Biggers, In the Sierra Madre
Jeff Broadwater, George Mason, Forgotten Founder
Alicia Steimberg, Andrea Labinger (trans.), The Rainforest
Michael Grunwald, The Swamp
Darrin McMahon, Happiness: A History
Leo Braudy, From Chivalry to Terrorism
David Nasaw, Andrew Carnegie
Leah Hager Cohen, Train Go Sorry
Chris Grabenstein, Slay Ride
David Helvarg, Blue Frontier
Marina Warner, Phantasmagoria
Bill Crider, A Mammoth Murder
Robert W. Bennett, Taming the Electoral College
Nicholas Stern et al, Stern Review Report
Kerry Emanuel, Divine Wind
Adam Langer, The Washington Story
Michael Scott Moore, Too Much of Nothing
Frank Schaeffer, Baby Jack
Wyn Cooper, Postcards from the Interior
Ivan Goncharov, Oblomov
Maureen Ogle, Ambitious Brew
Cass Sunstein, Infotopia
Paul W. Kahn, Out of Eden
Paul Lewis, Cracking Up
Pagan Kennedy, Confessions of a Memory Eater
David Greenberg, Nixon's Shadow
Duane Swierczynski, The Wheelman
George Levine, Darwin Loves You
John Barlow, Intoxicated
Alicia Steimberg, The Rainforest
Alan Wolfe, Does American Democracy Still Work?
John Dickerson, On Her Trail
Marcus Sakey, The Blade Itself
Randy Boyagoda, Governor of the Northern Province
John Gittings, The Changing Face of China
Rachel Kadish, Tolstoy Lied
Eric Rauchway, Blessed Among Nations
Tim Brookes, Guitar and other books
Ruth Padel, Tigers in Red Weather
William Haywood Henderson, Augusta Locke
Jed Horne, Breach of Faith
Robert Greer, The Fourth Perspective
David Plotz, The Genius Factory
Michael Allen Dymmoch, White Tiger
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, Civilizing the Enemy
Tom Lutz, Doing Nothing
Libby Fischer Hellmann, A Shot To Die For
Nelson Algren, The Man With the Golden Arm
Bob Harris, Prisoner of Trebekistan
Elaine Flinn, Deadly Collection
Louise Welsh, The Bullet Trick
Gregg Hurwitz, Last Shot
Martha Powers, Death Angel
N.M. Kelby, Whale Season
Mario Acevedo, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
Dominic Smith, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre
Simon Blackburn, Lust
Linda L. Richards, Calculated Loss
Kevin Guilfoile, Cast of Shadows
Ronlyn Domingue, The Mercy of Thin Air
Shari Caudron, Who Are You People?
Marisha Pessl, Special Topics in Calamity Physics
John Sutherland, How to Read a Novel
Steven Miles, Oath Betrayed
Alan Brown, Audrey Hepburn's Neck
Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale

--Marshal Zeringue