Set in the beautiful mountains of Kingdom County, THE FALL OF THE YEAR is Howard Frank Mosher's brilliant autobiographical novel about love in all its forms, from friendship to the most passionate romance, in a place where family, community, vocation, and the natural world still matter profoundly. Here are the lively stories of the eccentric inhabitants of Kingdom County, including Louvia the Fortuneteller; Foster Boy Dufresne, the local bottle picker; and the daredevil tomboy Molly Murphy, who risks her life to fulfill her dream of running away with the Greatest Little Show on Earth. Mosher's kingdom is "timeless. It existed well before man, has survived his spell upon it, and will do so long after the curtain has fallen" (Washington Post Book World).
About the Author
HOWARD FRANK MOSHER is the author of ten books, including Waiting for Teddy Williams, The True Account, and A Stranger in the Kingdom, which, along with Disappearances, was corecipient of the New England Book Award for fiction. He lives in Vermont.
A usual cast of rural eccentrics peoples the latest from Vermont writer Mosher (Northern Borders, 1994, etc.), as he highlights a crucial summer for an orphan boy whos come home from college in the 1950s to prepare himself for the seminary. In little Kingdom Common, the heart of Kingdom County, young Frank Bennett sees that not much has changed while he was away, except that foul-mouthed, ballplaying Father George, the hotheaded priest who raised him, has lost much of his fire. A series of tasks the ailing priest has set out for Frank charts the course of the summer, starting with attempts to rein in the free-spirited ``village idiot,'' who talks to his shadow, tries to kiss a moose on a bet, and finally vanishes from town in a blizzard. Frank's efforts meet with similar success when hes charged with overseeing a blithe young daredevil, a redheaded Irish girl excited to new heights by the arrival of a traveling circusshe upstages the acrobats on the flying trapeze and then runs off with the show. A darker side of life is reflected in Franks trip to Staten Island to visit the former owner of the Land of the Free Emporium, a Chinese man run out of town by those feeling the pinch of his entrepreneurial prosperity. And when an absent-minded Mr. Mentality comes to Kingdom Common to do a mind-reading show, his rage at not receiving his full fee translates into a terrifying public display of all the town's secrets. But the real story of the summer involves the local fortuneteller and a girl with laughing eyes who becomes Father George's housekeeper, and whose face Frank cannot put out of his mind. Capraesque storytelling bursting with juice and flavor, a novel as charming as it is colorful, even if it is at times a bit too predictable. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP.
All rights reserved. Kirkus Reviews
"Father George raised an adopted son, Frank Bennett, whose common-sensical point of view makes him an ideal narrator. Each exchange between the two is a small story in itself, in dialogue so right that you feel like you're eavesdropping on a small, special world." The New York Times
"Mosher's novel is filled with placid and elegant descriptions of nature, at times reminding me of a prose pastoral symphony. But people, not maple trees and trout streams alone, make a novel breathe, and this -- his talent for creating lively, living characters -- is Mosher's greatest gift. " -- reviewed by Sudip Bose The Washington Post
"I have always enjoyed reading the novels of Howard Frank Mosher, and I was especially taken by The Fall of the Year, which brings together in one book all of his considerable strengths. His principal character, Father George Lecoeur, is easily among his most durable creations. Mosher's language--always a pleasure to read--attains a level of astonishing grace and beauty here as he brings Kingdom County to life once again. Mosher writes with a narrative power and moral intensity that recall John Steinbeck at his best, and it is high time he were ranked among the finest writers of our time." -- Jay Parini, author of Robert Frost: A Life
"Few writers create characters as wondrous and idiosyncratic as Howard Frank Mosher--and fewer still offer us stories with as much grace and humor and heart. He is, pure and simple, one of the very best we have." -- Chris Bohjalian, author of Midwives and The Law of Similars
"I have been a fan of Howard Frank Mosher since his astonishing Where the Rivers Flow North. He is a wonderful writer, and in the Fall of the Year —