Catherine Gildiner recounts her remarkable coming-of-age in the 1960s with the same wit, candour and exhilarating storytelling that has made Too Close to the Falls a modern classic.
When Cathy McClure is thirteen years old, her parents make the bold decision to move to suburban Buffalo in hopes that it will help Cathy focus on her studies and stay out of trouble. But “normal” has never been Cathy’s forte, and leaving Niagara Falls and Catholic school behind does nothing to quell her spirited nature. As the 1960s dramatically unfold, Cathy takes on many personas — cheerleader, vandal, HoJo hostess, civil rights demonstrator — with the same gusto she exhibited as a child working split shifts in her father’s pharmacy. But when tragedy strikes, it is her role as daughter that proves to be most challenging.
Praise for After the Falls:
A 2009 ‘The Globe 100’ selection, The Globe & Mail
A 2009 Best Book selection, More magazine
A 2009 Best Book selection, NOW (Toronto)
“Gildiner has an uncanny ability to entertain people and make them laugh. Her fans won't be disappointed. Gildiner’s period references remain as bang-on as they were in her earlier memoir, and her caustic humour is much in evidence.” —The Globe & Mail
“Her trademark humour, her perceptive intelligence, and her decidedly unusual home life are again features woven into this new memoir. . . . Anyone who grew up during the same time period will recall the same memorable events that Gildiner recounts. . . . Even those who did not live through the same era will respond to Gildiner’s emotional honesty, her ability to draw us into her story, and her ever-present humour. . . . As much as a coming of age story, this is a love story twice told—the love story of Gildiner’s parents and the love story of a daughter and a father. This is a wonderful book to start a new year of reading.” —The Chronicle Herald
“A terrific character who’s led a fascinating life. Oh, yeah, and she can write. . . . Cathy is smart, persistent and cares about her childhood friendships. Gildiner has no problem holding our interest. But the key to this memoir is Cathy’s relationships with her mother and father, which change in moving ways as she becomes an adult, giving the book a near perfect structure. There’s a significant revelation near the end that helps her and us make sense of some of her parents’ mysterious behaviour. Fans of Too Close to the Falls will not be disappointed.” —NOW (Toronto)
“Gildiner’s successful telling of these tales is as much about her perspective as it is about her experience. That, of course, and charm. Is there sometimes too much charm? Maybe just a little. But she is an ordinary person doing—mostly—fairly ordinary things, but relating them in an extraordinarily skillful way. In the end, I think, she entertains us by reminding us of our own specialness. A fantastic gift.” —January Magazine
“She did such outrageous things as a teenager. . . . I laughed out loud, the way I would at Lucy Ricardo’s antics on I Love Lucy. . . . The young woman we meet in After the Falls is sassy and cocksure, absolutely. But the book is more than simply funny and Gildiner, then Cathy McClure, is not just outrageous. She is smart and caring, determined and enterprising, curious and brave. And some of the tales she tells are nothing short of harrowing stories in which sex, infidelity, even murder, figure. . . . Gildiner . . . is a born raconteur. Her writing style is lively and conversational; dialogue, which figures strongly, comes easily to her.” —The Gazette (original), Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen, National Post, The Vancouver Sun
“Mrs. Gildiner's gifts shine again in After the Falls … it contains an abundance of humor and humanity. The adjective ‘tumultuous’ is often used to describe the events of the 1960s. After the Falls reminds us of the reason. The book is speckled with cultural references — song lyrics, TV advertisements, clothing fads — that will strike a chord with baby boomers. If After the Falls were an enhanced e-book, it would be full of entertaining links.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Hard to put down. . . . After the Falls has unforgettable main characters: a brilliant father who speaks with crazy tumour-affected logic, and a modern mother who should have had a career, but is trapped in the ’50s mindset where ‘having to work’ shamed your husband. . . . The civil rights subplot, and FBI interference, carries the book along at a faster pace than most memoirs, and baby boomers will love the lines out of familiar ’60s songs. The writing style, in Cathy’s changing child-to-woman voice, is bright and honest. One quickly feels an empathy and fascination with this frank girl whose radically changing life plunges her back and forth between child and adult several times.” —Winnipeg Free Press
“A natural storyteller.” —Barrie Examiner
“Gildiner’s playful, puckish, and moving follow-up to her memoir … is downright irresistible. This is so much more than a coming-of-age memoir … it’s about learning how to connect, how to be a daughter as well as a young woman in your own right. Moving (you will need tissues), spirited, fierce, and funny, Gildiner delves into the bonds of family and love, all in a voice so infectious I’d follow it anywhere.” —The Boston Globe
“After the Falls was just as addicting [and] darker than Too Close to the Falls, dealing with heavier issues. Some of them are disturbing, but all are thought provoking, handled with humour, candor and openness. Gildiner paints a picture of a turbulent time in history as well as allowing us to share in her coming of age during this time. Her writing style is effortless, almost reading as fiction. Highly, highly recommended. I can’t wait to read the third memoir.” —A Bookworm’s World
“I enjoyed this book. It’s very well written, making you feel as if you’re there with the characters. There isn’t a dull moment in this book. It’s full of history, love, heartache and humor.” —Reading at the Beach
Setting: United States (New York, Ohio)
Period: 1960s, 1970s
Length: 368 pp
English (Canada) rights, Knopf Canada
English (US) rights, Penguin
For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.
Photo credit: MH Lynde
Catherine Gildiner wrote her doctoral thesis on the influence of Darwin on Freud, and has been a clinical psychologist in private practice for several years. She has written psychological advice columns for a national women's magazine and numerous newspaper articles on a wide range of subjects. Her first book, the memoir Too Close to the Falls, was published in Canada, the US and the UK to wide acclaim. Her first novel, Seduction, was on Canadian and Dutch bestseller lists and was also published in Germany, Bulgaria and in a French language edition. She lives in Toronto.
Catherine Gildiner’s website can be found at www.gildiner.com.