FALLING ANGELS BARBARA GOWDY PDF

Then, jumping back eight years to the time when the sisters first learnt about a family tragedy that pre-dates their own births but informs them all, Gowdy takes us for a short, spiky romp through the collective childhood of the three as they mature to various versions of womanhood under the neglectful eye of dysfunctional parents. Their mother had accidentally killed her first born, Falling Angels begins in with a trio of sisters driving their drunken father to the funeral of their mother. Their mother had accidentally killed her first born, a son, by dropping throwing? One stand-out chapter detailed how a trip to Disneyland was shelved during the Cuban missile crisis, their the father instead building a bomb shelter, forcing the whole family spend two weeks locked in together, living with limited resources and under a military regime of timetabled daily activities exercise, toilet times etc.

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The household is ruled by father Jim Field, modeled on his experiences in the military, as is illustrated by a flashback sequence to the two weeks he forced his family to spend trapped in his self-built backyard bomb shelter, for "practice". Jim works as a used-car salesman and he is keen on keeping up appearances in front of the neighbors. He is psychologically unstable, drinks heavily and cheats on his wife which she accepts although he is also oddly protective of her, insisting that his daughters watch her all the time.

His depressed wife Mary, a onetime dancer, has escaped into apathy and alcoholism a long time ago. She lives a catatonic life on the living room couch, staring absently at the television, her ever-present coffee cup full of whiskey impassively filled by one family member or another. Each of the three teenaged daughters has her own way to cope with the deleterious family atmosphere. They try to find their own experiences while struggling with weight of their family duties and concern for their mother.

After unexpectedly becoming friends with a neighbour girl, she lets some pleasure into her dreary life. As the opposite of Norma, middle child Lou fights for her independence, standing up to her father and loving her mother but despising her weakness.

She assuages her fantasies of rebellion, experimenting with boys and drugs. Not as involved as Norma in the housekeeping, nor as rebellious as Lou, sweet-looking Sandy devotes herself to becoming a perfect woman, with her own naive sense of femininity and sexuality. The story builds from one small event to another. The ending is left open, leaving the viewer to guess whether or not the characters will be able to start a new and more honest life and reconstruct family bonds.

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Barbara Gowdy

The comically dark novel focuses on a nuclear family in a s Ontario suburb. The main characters are three sisters who come of age in a house run by their abusive and womanizing father and must constantly find ways to take care of their depressed and alcoholic mother. Gowdy says her inspiration for the book was the idea of a Canadian family living during the Cold War and practicing using their bomb shelter in the back yard. In the novel and movie, the family spend two weeks trapped in the bomb shelter as an "exercise" rather than going on a family trip to Disneyland.

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