Best of Canada: "The Sky is Falling" by Caroline Adderson
I first reviewed The Sky is Falling in March of 2011 after it was shortlisted for the 2011 Commonwealth Writer's Prize. It was also long listed for the 2012 International IMPAC Dublin Award, a Quill and Quire Best Book of 2010, A Globe and Mail Top 100 book of 2010, an Amazon.ca Top Editors' Pick of 2010, and a January Magazine Best Book of 2010.
One morning, Jane Z. opens the newspaper to see a face staring back at her that she hasn't seen in 20 years. She learns that her university housemate Sonia has been released from prison after serving her sentence for a terrorist attack.
Seeing Sonia's face returns Jane to 1983 when she rents a room in a house with Sonia and two others and is thrust into their world, one in which paranoia and fear of nuclear war lead them to form a non-violent anti-nuclear group called NAG.
As Jane and her roommates try stop the end of the world, while also completing their studies, a teenage runaway shows up at their home, and the group finds themselves propelled into taking the most daring action of their lives. When one of their own bombs unintentionally goes off they are forced to come face to face with reality.
The Sky is Falling is an incredible novel. I was drawn into this book right away and couldn't get my mind off of it. The book easily slips back and forth between the past and present to skillfully illustrate to the reader the naivete of the group members, especially Jane.
The book deals with universal themes such as social acceptance, fear, and the loss of innocence in a way that is both serious and humorous, as well as identifiable to the reader. From the moment you begin reading the characters may not be easy to identify with, but they draw you in, thanks to Caroline Adderson's beautiful writing.
The Sky is Falling may be about the past, but it parallels our post 9/11 world so wonderfully that it will have your mind working well past when you've turned the final page. I highly recommend this book and am sure that this will be one of my favourites of the year.