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The Falconer (2018)

de Dana Czapnik

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1242175,039 (4.08)3
New York, 1993. Seventeen-year-old Lucy Adler, a street-smart, trash-talking baller, is often the only girl on the public courts. At turns quixotic and cynical, insecure and self-possessed, Lucy is in unrequited love with her best friend and pick-up teammate Percy, scion to a prominent New York family who insists he wishes to resist upper crust fate. As she navigates this complex relationship with all its youthful heartache, Lucy is seduced by a different kind of life, one less consumed by conventional success and the approval of men. A pair of provocative female artists living in what remains of New York's bohemia invite her into their world, but soon even their paradise begins to show cracks. Told in vibrant, quicksilver prose, The Falconer is a "wholly original coming-of-age story" (Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists), providing a snapshot of the city and America through the eyes of the children of the baby boomers grappling with privilege and the fading of radical hopes. New York Times bestselling author Claire Messud calls The Falconer an "exhilarating debut," adding that "Dana Czapnik's frank heroine has a voice, and a perspective, you won't soon forget."… (mais)
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Sometimes a book finds me that I would not have found by myself. That is how The Falconer by Dana Czapnik came into my life--as an unexpected package from the publisher.

Reading it was about a seventeen-year-old girl in 1993 New York City whose passion was basketball and who has a crush on her best friend Percy, I wondered if I would care for the book. Sure, there was advance praise from Column McCann, Salmon Rushdie, Chloe Benjamin--but could I relate to the story?

I opened the book and started reading. The opening scene finds the protagonist, "pizza bagel" Lucy, playing basketball with Percy. I've seen basketball games. Only when the tickets were free. But the writing was so good, I found myself drawn into the scene, turning pages. There was something about this book, about Lucy's voice.

On the surface, I had nothing in common with Lucy. And yet Lucy felt familiar, her concerns and fears universal.

In telling the story of one particular girl from a particular place and time, the author probes the eternal challenges of growing up female: conformity and acceptance by one's peer group while staying true to oneself; crushes on boys who don't see you; concerns about our attractiveness; what we give up for love; is the world is chaotic and without order, or can we find joy and hope?

There was a multitude of lines and paragraphs that I noted for their wisdom, beauty, and insight. I reread sections, scenes that elicited emotion or thoughtfulness.

I felt Lucy was channeling Holden Caulfield, who I met as a fourteen-year-old in Freshman English class in 1967. The Catcher in the Rye was life-changing for me, a voice unlike any I had encountered in a novel. The New York City setting, the wandering across the city, the characters met, the rejection of the parental values and lifestyle, Lucy's misunderstanding of a song line--Lucy is a female Holden, updated to the 1990s.

Lucy tells us that in Central Park is a statue of a boy releasing a falcon. She loves this statue but resents that only boys are portrayed in the way of the statue, that girls are shown nude or as children like the Alice in Wonderland statue. She sees in the joy and hope in The Falconer.

Lucy experiences many things in the novel, including some pretty bad stuff. But she is resilient, holding to the joy and beauty she finds around her, the "the perfect jump shot" moments. She will inspire young readers and offer those of us whose choices were made long ago a journey of recollection and the affirmation of mutually shared experience.

I received a free ARC from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. ( )
1 vote nancyadair | Nov 29, 2018 |
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New York, 1993. Seventeen-year-old Lucy Adler, a street-smart, trash-talking baller, is often the only girl on the public courts. At turns quixotic and cynical, insecure and self-possessed, Lucy is in unrequited love with her best friend and pick-up teammate Percy, scion to a prominent New York family who insists he wishes to resist upper crust fate. As she navigates this complex relationship with all its youthful heartache, Lucy is seduced by a different kind of life, one less consumed by conventional success and the approval of men. A pair of provocative female artists living in what remains of New York's bohemia invite her into their world, but soon even their paradise begins to show cracks. Told in vibrant, quicksilver prose, The Falconer is a "wholly original coming-of-age story" (Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists), providing a snapshot of the city and America through the eyes of the children of the baby boomers grappling with privilege and the fading of radical hopes. New York Times bestselling author Claire Messud calls The Falconer an "exhilarating debut," adding that "Dana Czapnik's frank heroine has a voice, and a perspective, you won't soon forget."

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813.6 — Literature American and Canadian American fiction 21st Century

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