Two voices, two families, two interweaving narratives with thirty years dividing them. In 1972 Birdie Cormack enters a highly controversial experiment in Toronto. Her story unfolds piece by fascinating piece, mostly by way of a compelling series of letters written to her parents. And in 2002 Jeremy Jacks returns to the West Coast after a failed bid to become a writer back east. As he grudgingly reassumes his role at home, his brother Robert, fuelled by fear and rage and a recent suspension from his teaching position at the local high school, reels off on a dangerous and destructive path, exposing in the process the family’s long-hidden secrets and leading to the novel’s powerful climax. Meanwhile, as they struggle in their respective experiments, Jeremy and Birdie confront their demons—both private and public—and begin to see the possibility of love without understanding, and forgiveness without forgetting, by scraping away the lies that over the years have transformed themselves into facts. A penetrating portrait of a place and time unique in Canadian history, Falling from Heights explores the blood ties that bind us one generation to the next, while at the same time revealing the strange, oftentimes unrecognized power in us all to shape one another’s destinies.
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“One quick conversation with his father. That is all it took to remind Jeremy Jacks why exactly he had abandoned the West Coast entirely almost two years before. . . .”