- Title: The Fall of Light
- Author: Niall Williams
- ISBN: 9780330490870
- Page: 445
- Format: Paperback
Beginning in Ireland in the early years of the 19th century, the four Foley brothers flee across the country with their father and the large telescope he has stolen Soon forced apart by the violence of the Irish wilderness, the potato famine, and the promise of America, the brothers find themselves scattered across the world Their separate adventures unfold in passionateBeginning in Ireland in the early years of the 19th century, the four Foley brothers flee across the country with their father and the large telescope he has stolen Soon forced apart by the violence of the Irish wilderness, the potato famine, and the promise of America, the brothers find themselves scattered across the world Their separate adventures unfold in passionate and vivid scenes with gypsies, horse races, sea voyages, and beautiful women An epic narrative on the meaning of love and home and family, The Fall of Light is a dazzling novel by one of the most promising novelists writing today.
Recent Comments "The Fall of Light"
I have visited Ireland and vividly remember the shock I felt when standing before a sculpture in the streets of Dublin depicting a group of people and the suffering endured during the potato famine. The Great Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1849. This novel which is my first by Niall details the tragedy that falls upon one family during this period of Irish history and told in the most luscious prose. Read it and weep. I certainly did bu [...]
This book got better as it progressed, and I finally became invested around page 49, then halfway thru I could not stop reading. At Page 300, with 3 pages to go and I could not believe this story, it is so special, the way the family is broken by distance, yet clings to one another, or the memory of one another, right to the very end. Beautiful metaphors through out, a lot of life reflection, talented author to convey so much with words. A beautiful story that can evoke great emotion, (yep, I cr [...]
A lush, epic drama set in 19th century Ireland (roughly during the potato famine). It follows the trials and tribulations of 4 brothers and their father as they leave their Tipperary home and set out to find a better life. They become separated, have some terrible, some amazing experience. It's almost mythic in quality- melodramatic- but very sensual. He uses language so beautifully, but you have to be patient and savor the story without rushing. It's like eating really expensive dark chocolate- [...]
Wow. What can I say. I'm still in love with Niall Williams's writing. I know I should have read this book slowly, but I just couldn't! The Fall of Light has such a different sound than the other two books I've read by the author. This story of the traveling Foley family during the Irish Potato Famine plays with themes of loss, discovery, love (as is familiar in Williams's writing) and of course all of the beauty that I've come to love in the description, imagery and poetry. I'd putFour Letters o [...]
Williams's prose is lyrical, transports me utterly. His characters are vulnerable and your heart aches for them, plot is slow but engaging. What a beautiful read.
This book is not for everyone. If you don't like stories to evolve, ebb and flow like folklore, you won't like it. It's not action-packed, and it's unflinching, but it is a really beautiful book. Williams is renound for his stunning lyricism; the book sounds and feels like an ocean pulsing.The story is the folklore passed down of the Foley family and their struggles through the Irish potato-famine. The father, through obsession and passion for things he can't have, loses his wife and determinedl [...]
A sprawling epic family story, this is an ambitious microcosm of the experiences of the rural Irish and their diaspora in the mid nineteenth century. Parts of the book deal unflinchingly with the horrors and iniquities of the potato famine, but Williams is too much of a romantic to allow this to dominate. Much of the story is more folk tale than plausible narrative, and to some extent this feels like an exploration into the evolution and exaggerations of family stories. As in all of Williams' wo [...]
After reading 'History of the Rain' which I loved, I also wanted to love this. The writing is beautiful and sweeps you along with the story but sadly, by midway through, I got bored with the story and didn't much care what happened or had happened to any of the characters. That's always a cue to me to stop. A hard decision because Williams writes so well but it just wasn't for me in the end.
In a word, magical.
A twisting, turning tale of a family of four brothers, their father and mother, beginning with the hardships of 19th century Ireland and travelling at times to Africa, far Europe and early America. The language is to be savoured. You are never far from the mystical or the fable, yet always in touch with the natural world and the grip of being human. I'm not sure why I haven't given this a five star, perhaps on re-reading, I will!
“And in that fall of light from heaven to earth perhaps all our stories were told, all actions of the living and dead explained, and all time past present and future revealed.” Francis Foley with his telescope learns of the paths of his children as they are scattered to far ends of the earth. This is an epic story of an interesting Irish family. This writer painted some of the best word pictures I’ve read in a long time. Enjoyable read.
A story of survival, hope and love against all odds. In famine stricken Ireland many suffered - the Foleys weren't unique many unimaginable hardships that should have shattered them but they obstinately prevailed.
Considered 5* I always like his use of language. I liked the Irish theme. It was just a litttle bit too sentimental in places re family and a little bit too spiritual (not the right word but will do ) but definitely worth reading.
I wish I could say I enjoyed this book, but I honestly couldn't get into it, and finished it mostly out of a sense of obligation to get to the end. It did have its good points, but they were overshadowed by what I saw as weaknesses, leading to a very mediocre read. Despite this, it had a good flow, and was a fast read if I sat down to read it.Niall Williams has a very poetic narrative voice, and his descriptions are vivid and summon clear mental images. He paints a stark picture of Ireland aroun [...]
This was an advance reading copy that I picked up at a book sale, so the story may have been changed somewhat before publication.By turns lyrical and brutal, this is the story of a family first torn apart, then reunited in a fashion many years later. It tells of Francis and Emer Foley who begin life together rather impetuously and with grand dreams. But the reality of their lives wears them down, and disaster follows. Through stubbornness and misunderstanding the family is separated; the author [...]
Poetic, gripping and enlightening.
In Ireland a family with four boys struggles to get by, and struggles all the more because they have a vision of something greater, inspired by stars and stories of the ancients, a vision of a land, maybe in on the West coast of Ireland, where a family could build something of their own. Those dreams wind up tearing the family apart, and set them on a lifetime of wandering, mostly alone or with new companions though sometimes reuniting. Through love and sickness and imprisonment and history, the [...]
Niall Williams writes in a beautiful lyric style that, at times, catches in the throat of the reader. The story line is poignant and the characters rich and full. A great read. His story line has the epic saga quality of Ken Follett, but his poetic prose is far superior to that of Follett. The reader becomes absorbed by the fate of the Irish family, and Williams takes the reader all the way to the predictable/unpredictable ending so that the reader is left with a heavy sadness, yet, at the same [...]
This was a disappointing book. I came to it quite eagerly after "History of the Rain" (I gave that 5 stars). "History" was wonderful because of the narrator the unfolding of her ideas, discoveries, her surroundings. In "The Fall," the plot seems to drive the story of a father, his wife, and their sons. And one goes missing and another goes missing and one comes back, and another comes back in a dream there's along session on gypsy life. Williams' other novel was so strong, so driven, so percepti [...]
Part Irish Mythology, part " loose" family history , love story, tale of loss, the importance of family.Irish immigrants, like many other nationalities, had little ideaof what to expect in America; they had little choice, but to escape the potato famine and the widespread suffering it caused. The decision to leaveIreland was one of survival. That said, the story brings dreams and fairies and fablesmingled with hardship and determinationto create a new life. A spirit of adventure is pervasive and [...]
This is the fourth book I have recently read by this author, Niall Williams. "The Fall of Light" title is very appropriate to the tragedies depicted in this novel. Four brothers who run away after the father steals a telescope from his employer (this turns out to be a vital part of the book) and a mother who is so upset she leaves and is lost for years. It is certainly worth reading and has a somewhat uplifting ending, but not without many losses and tragedies. I will now read his book titled "J [...]
It took me a while to get into this one. I actually started it once and put it down for a year or better. Then, I picked it up again and finished it. I'm not sure what my problem was the first time, but I did really enjoy this book. It isn't as engaging as his other novels, but it's still written with the beautiful prose I've come to expect from Niall Williams. I have been a fan of his since I picked up a copy of Four Letters of Love off the bargain shelf of Barnes & Noble and will be a fan [...]
A quote on the sleeve says "Williams' language is rich to the point of bursting" - I'd say that it burst and overshadowed the story. Except there wasn't much of a story to overshadow. True, a lot of the description was poetic and described scenes beautifully and the poverty of the time harrowingly, but I think the line describing a scene in an inn went too far 'n scratched at their trousers releasing the stench of stale urine into the air'. Nice.
This felt a bit different from Williams other books I've read. But not necessarily in a bad way. The tone felt very ancient throughout, which suited the era he was evoking and isn't always that believably done by other authors. At times it felt other-worldly, mythical, or almost Biblical. The characters all felt slightly more than just simply men and woman. Perhaps I would like to have spent more time with different brothers - but that would have been a different book.
I kept waiting for this story to go somewhere. Despite a lot of travel, it never did, and none of the characters or events was gripping enough to invest more than 75 pages of reading in. It's as if the mere concepts of Gypsies, monks, and rebellious fiery-tempered Irishmen are supposed to hold my interest, so that the author is free to turn as many pretty phrases as he likes, without ever telling me a story.
This was a departure for Williams into the genre of historical fiction, and at first it took some getting used to. But once again the book is carried by the sheer richness of the writing. Williams is a superb wordsmith, and even the thinness of the plot here does not detract from the beauty of his story-telling. Not the best book with which to make Williams' acquaintance if you haven't yet - but a great place to go once you're familiar with him
Lyrical, poetic, and like a fantastical fableNiall's writing is incredibly beautiful. A page turner? No. Moving? Absolutely. The story he tells of an Irish family fighting for their survival during the famine in Ireland will touch the deepest part of youoften provoking an ache in your heart or a lump in your throat. (Unless you're in a coma.) The pain of Ireland is palpable on every page of this book.
This proved to be a mix of Irish storytelling, love of family and the dire situation of life for many during the mid 19th century in Ireland. The patriarch, Francis Foley, sets change in action through the theft of the landlord's telescope and fleeing with his 4 sons. Eventually, there is some reconciliation but there is a pervasive tone of melancholy, too.
I'm a huge fan of Niall Williams, but I had a hard time with this book. There were elements of the book I really enjoyed, but it moved slow at times and there were so many different characters it was hard to follow. It didn't live up to my expectations after reading Four Letters of Love and As It Is In Heaven.
It took me a long time to get into this - not a book you can read a few pages then get back to. Once I accepted the heart wrenching sadness, the melancholy of the Irish kept me going. The writing is beautiful if you don't rush.
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