The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

By Heidi W. Durrow
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Paperback, 9781616200152, 278pp.)

Publication Date: January 2011

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Description

Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy after a fateful morning on their Chicago rooftop. Forced to move to a new city, with her strict African American grandmother as her guardian, Rachel is thrust for the first time into a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring a constant stream of attention her way. It's there, as she grows up and tries to swallow her grief, that she comes to understand how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity. This searing and heartwrenching portrait of a young biracial girl dealing with society's ideas of race and class is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.




About the Author
Heidi W. Durrow has won the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition and the Chapter One Fiction Contest. She has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the American Scandinavian Foundation, and the Lois Roth Endowment and a Fellowship for Emerging Writers from the Jerome Foundation. Her writing has been published in "Alaska Quarterly Review", the "Literary Review", and others.



NPR
Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011

The 2000 Census was the first time the U.S. government recognized people with mixed race backgrounds, when 6.8 million people identified with two or more races. In 2010, 9 million Americans identify as such. This summer, Tell Me More will focus on stories and novels about the mixed race experience in America. To launch our Summer Blend Book Club, host Michel Martin speaks with bestselling author Heidi Durrow, who wrote the novel The Girl Who Fell from the Sky. Durrow also co-founded the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival that just ended in Los Angeles. More at NPR.org

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CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky is set in the 1980s. How does its chronological setting affect its plot and themes? Do you think the novel’s events might play out any differently if it were set in contemporary times? 

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