The Fall of Lisa Bellow: A Novel

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The breakout novel from the critically acclaimed author of the short story collections Who I Was Supposed to Be and Why They Run the Way They Do—when a middle school girl is abducted in broad daylight, a fellow student and witness to the crime copes with the tragedy in an unforgettable way.

What happens to the girl left behind?

A masked man with a gun enters a sandwich shop in broad daylight, and Meredith Oliver suddenly finds herself ordered to the filthy floor, where she cowers face to face with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow, the most popular girl in her eighth grade class. The minutes tick inexorably by, and Meredith lurches between comforting the sobbing Lisa and imagining her own impending death. Then the man orders Lisa Bellow to stand and come with him, leaving Meredith the girl left behind.

After Lisa’s abduction, Meredith spends most days in her room. As the community stages vigils and searches, Claire, Meredith’s mother, is torn between relief that her daughter is alive, and helplessness over her inability to protect or even comfort her child. Her daughter is here, but not.

Like Everything I Never Told You and Room, The Fall of Lisa Bellow is edgy and original, a hair-raising exploration of the ripple effects of an unthinkable crime. It is a dark, beautifully rendered, and gripping novel about coping, about coming-of-age, and about forgiveness. It is also a beautiful illustration of how one family, broken by tragedy, finds healing.
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About the author

Susan Perabo is the author of the collections of short stories, Who I Was Supposed to Be and Why They Run the Way They Do, and the novels The Broken Places and The Fall of Lisa Bellow. Her fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize Stories, and New Stories from the South, and has appeared in numerous magazines, including One Story, Glimmer Train, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, and The Sun. She is Writer in Residence and professor of English at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and on the faculty of the low-residency MFA Program at Queens University. She holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

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Reviews

3.6
10 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Mar 14, 2017
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781476761497
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / General
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Jessica Shattuck
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER  •  FEATURING AN EXCLUSIVE NEW CHAPTER

GoodReads Choice Awards Semifinalist 

"Moving . . . a plot that surprises and devastates."—New York Times Book Review

"A masterful epic."—People magazine

"Mesmerizing . . . The Women in the Castle stands tall among the literature that reveals new truths about one of history’s most tragic eras."—USA Today

Three women, haunted by the past and the secrets they hold

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding.

 Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naive Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resister’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

Written with the devastating emotional power of The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, and The Light Between Oceans, Jessica Shattuck’s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.

Paula Daly
Paula Daly is acclaimed for her distinctive voice, masterful plotting, and terrifying depictions of ordinary people whose everyday lives are turned upside down through deception and murder. In her unsettling new domestic thriller, The Trophy Child, Daly digs beneath the serene surface of the idyllic suburban Lake District community where families strive for perfection, delivering a suspenseful, surprising story of motherhood and fallibility.

Karen Bloom is not the coddling mother type. She believes in raising her children for success. Some in the neighborhood call her assertive, others say she's driven, but in gossiping circles she's known as: the tiger mother. Karen believes that tough discipline is the true art of parenting and that achievement leads to ultimate happiness. She expects her husband and her children to perform at 200 percent—no matter the cost. But in an unending quest for excellence, her seemingly flawless family start to rebel against her.

Her husband Noel is a handsome doctor with a proclivity for alcohol and women. Their prodigy daughter, Bronte, is excelling at school, music lessons, dance classes, and yet she longs to run away. Verity, Noel's teenage daughter from his first marriage, is starting to display aggressive behavior. And Karen's son from a previous relationship falls deeper into drug use. When tragedy strikes the Blooms, Karen's carefully constructed facade begins to fall apart—and once the deadly cracks appear, they are impossible to stop.

A thrilling tale of ambition and murder, Daly's richly imagined world of suburban striving and motherly love is an absorbing page-turner about the illusions of perfection and the power games between husband and wife, parent and child.
Susan Perabo
Behind every face in Who I Was Supposed to Be, Susan Perabo's incandescent, devilishly hilarious debut short story collection, there is something simmering, a singular quirk to explore, a peculiarity to celebrate. In the world of her fiction, nothing can be taken for granted, and there is no such thing as the run of the mill: here, a retired grocer takes up jewel theft in his twilight years; a data processor squanders her inheritance on a gown from Princess Diana's collection; a mugging victim, newly separated from his wife, feigns amnesia to win back her love; a teenage pyromaniac finds release in the company of her mother's jilted second husband.
In the tradition of Lorrie Moore, the stories in this collection celebrate the absence of normalcy, the quirkiness of the human condition, the everyday deviance of "ordinary" people. In story after story, Perabo peels back the layers of the banal and the bizarre, revealing a world that is at once stunning and familiar, shocking yet comforting. Through her slightly off-center lens, she provides a fresh and penetrating look at human nature, giving us a glimpse of the extraordinary in the ordinary, the magic in the smallest of gestures. Her resilient characters are a testament to the undying potential for optimism that gives people a fighting chance despite the twisted, sad world around them.
Written in sharp, incisive prose -- overlaid with a subtle, mischievous wit -- Who I Was Supposed to Be is an exquisite and unforgettable homage to the human capacity for laughter, love, and wonder.
Lisa Jewell
“Readers of Liane Moriarty, Paula Hawkins, and Ruth Ware will love." —Library Journal (starred review)

“Jewell’s novel explores the space between going missing and being lost….how the plots intersect and finally collide is one of the great thrills of reading Jewell’s book. She ratchets up the tension masterfully, and her writing is lively.” —New York Times

In the windswept British seaside town of Ridinghouse Bay, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on a beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, newlywed Lily Monrose grows anxious when her husband fails to return home from work one night. Soon, she receives even worse news: according to the police, the man she married never even existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty Ross are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. The annual trip to Ridinghouse Bay is uneventful, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just because he’s a protective older brother.

Who is the man on the beach? Where is Lily’s missing husband? And what ever happened to the man who made such a lasting and disturbing impression on Gray?

“A mystery with substance” (Kirkus Reviews), I Found You is a delicious collision course of a novel, filled with the believable characters, stunning writing, and “surprising revelations all the way up to the ending” (Booklist) that make New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell so beloved by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
Susan Perabo
Behind every face in Who I Was Supposed to Be, Susan Perabo's incandescent, devilishly hilarious debut short story collection, there is something simmering, a singular quirk to explore, a peculiarity to celebrate. In the world of her fiction, nothing can be taken for granted, and there is no such thing as the run of the mill: here, a retired grocer takes up jewel theft in his twilight years; a data processor squanders her inheritance on a gown from Princess Diana's collection; a mugging victim, newly separated from his wife, feigns amnesia to win back her love; a teenage pyromaniac finds release in the company of her mother's jilted second husband.
In the tradition of Lorrie Moore, the stories in this collection celebrate the absence of normalcy, the quirkiness of the human condition, the everyday deviance of "ordinary" people. In story after story, Perabo peels back the layers of the banal and the bizarre, revealing a world that is at once stunning and familiar, shocking yet comforting. Through her slightly off-center lens, she provides a fresh and penetrating look at human nature, giving us a glimpse of the extraordinary in the ordinary, the magic in the smallest of gestures. Her resilient characters are a testament to the undying potential for optimism that gives people a fighting chance despite the twisted, sad world around them.
Written in sharp, incisive prose -- overlaid with a subtle, mischievous wit -- Who I Was Supposed to Be is an exquisite and unforgettable homage to the human capacity for laughter, love, and wonder.
Susan Perabo
Susan Perabo's short-story collection, Who I Was Supposed to Be, was named a Best Book of 1999 by the Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Boston Globe proclaimed the debut "a stunning introduction to a fresh new literary talent." Now Susan Perabo returns with The Broken Places, her eagerly anticipated novel about love and honor and how the aftermath of one terrifying night -- and one heroic act -- affects a close-knit family.
Twelve-year-old Paul Tucker knows his family is something akin to royalty in small-town Casey, Pennsylvania. His father, Sonny, is a dedicated career fireman, in line for the position of chief, long held by Paul's late grandfather, a local legend whose heroics continue to occupy the hearts and minds of all who knew and worked with him. Paul's mother, Laura, is a math teacher at the high school; Paul is sometimes annoyed by her worries over him (and her apparent lack of worry over his father), but his life is generally untroubled, his future bright, his time measured by sport seasons.
But on a windy October day, the collapse of an abandoned farmhouse forever alters the fates and perceptions of Paul, his family, and those closest to them. Sonny and the other Casey firemen attempt a dangerous rescue to reach a teenager buried under the rubble, and when Sonny himself is trapped by a secondary collapse, Paul, his mother, and the crowd of onlookers believe the worst. The wait is excruciating; it's baby Jessica all over again, but this time the "innocent victim" is sixteen-year-old Ian Finch, a swastika-tattooed hoodlum who may have brought the house down on himself while building bombs. Still, when Sonny emerges from the rubble hours later, the maimed teenager in his arms, the rescue becomes a minor miracle and a major public relations event, a validation of all things American and true. Sonny is immediately hailed as a national hero. And Paul's life is suddenly, and irrevocably, changed.
Beyond the limelight, the parades, and the intrusion of the national media into a quiet and predictable life, the Tucker household balance is upset. And Ian Finch's curious and continued involvement in Sonny's life creates a new and troubling set of hurdles for Paul to overcome. Somehow, though his father has been saved, he continues to slip through Paul's fingers. Secrets, lies, and changing alliances threaten Paul's relationship with his father and his mother and his understanding of what holds a family -- and a town -- together.
The Broken Places is a brilliant meditation on the psychology of heroism, the definition of family, and the true meaning of honor. With pitch-perfect dialogue, subtle but stunning insights, and a dazzling ability to uncork the quiet power of each character, Susan Perabo's The Broken Places uncovers and celebrates the unsettling truths of human nature.
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