Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. Danielle McLaughlin's "In the Act of Falling" was originally published in the September 7, 2015 issue of The New Yorker.
Last September McLaughlin’s “The Dinosaurs on Other Planets” was her first story to appear in The New Yorker. It sparked a nice discussion. Let’s see if the same thing happens this time around with “In the Act of Falling.”
Please leave any comments you have about the story, McLaughlin, or anything related.
To kick things off, here are Adrienne’s thoughts:
“In the Act of Falling” is a story of isolation, loneliness, and the threat of defeat. Here you will find no new revelations of the effect of the economy on families nor will you find a tale that is new — never been written.
Times become hard, quite suddenly, and Bill languishes at home, too depressed to find work. He keeps a sort of company with his son, Finn, suspended from school for a fight, and together they descend into their own brand of survival. The protagonist — wife, mother, bread-winner — unnamed, carries her own miseries and concerns, apart from what her small family struggles with.
There are a lady missionary, dead birds, and a homeless man propelling the internal story of the woman into action. Despite feeling removed and alone from her son and husband, the woman is still utterly connected to them. She can remember laughter, pride, and love.
Danielle McLaughlin’s writing voice is lyrical, somewhat reminiscent of 19th-century English literature. Her tone creates, with mastery, images with resonance and power. There are no fits-and-starts when reading this piece — it flows until the end bringing us to a brink. We are left with a wisp — an idea — that lingers, like the noise left by a flock of birds, suddenly taking off in flight.