The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates

About the book

It is 1950 and, after a disastrous honeymoon night, Ariah Erskine’s young husband throws himself into the roaring waters of Niagara Falls. Ariah, “the Widow Bride of the Falls,” begins a relentless seven-day vigil in the mist, waiting for his body to be found. At her side is confirmed bachelor and pillar of the community Dirk Burnaby, who is unexpectedly drawn to this plain, strange woman. What follows is a passionate love affair, marriage, and family–a seemingly perfect existence. But the tragedy by which they were thrown together begins to shadow them, damaging their idyll with distrust, greed, and even murder.

Review by The Olive Tree Reading Group:

Generally liked, but was criticised for its length, failure to examine the outcome of the ‘love canal’ scandal vis a vis the people who suffered as a result. A good read if sometimes repetitious.

Star rating: ***

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3 thoughts on “The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates”

  1. Review by Fleet U3A Reading Group:
    The description of Niagara Falls and its recurrent them throughout the book was very powerful. However, the main character was a ‘difficult woman’ for whom our reading group had no empathy. The other characters were not developed very well. However, the story lingers in our memories – surely the sign of a good book!
    Star rating: ***


  2. Review by Milford Reading Group:
    A good read. Occasionally found it long winded and labouring a point or character. A very in depth study of the 1950s ā€“ the prejudices extortion, corruption, greed and the early awakening of environmental problems. The main character Ariah was not particularly likeable ā€“ her second husband, Dirk was quite believable ā€“ a family with many secrets.
    Star rating: ***


  3. Review by Abbots Ann Reading Circle:
    Author has good powers of description. All readers had difficulty in relating to main character. All readers disagreed with press critique on cover. All readers not anxious to read any more novels by this author
    Star rating: **


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