A mind-bending, gripping novel about Native life, motherhood and mental health that follows a young Mohawk woman who discovers that the picture-perfect life she always hoped for may have horrifying consequences
On the surface, Alice is exactly where she should be: She’s just given birth to a beautiful baby girl, Dawn; her charming husband, Steve is nothing but supportive; and they’ve recently moved into a new home in a wealthy neighborhood in Toronto. But Alice could not feel like more of an imposter. She isn’t connecting with Dawn, a struggle made even more difficult by the recent loss of her own mother, and every waking moment is spent hiding her despair from their white, watchful neighbors. Even when she does have a minute to herself, her perpetual self-doubt hinders the one vestige of her old life she has left: her goal of writing a modern retelling of the Haudenosaunee creation story.
At first, Alice is convinced her discomfort is of her own making. She has gotten everything she always dreamed of, after all. But then strange things start happening. She finds herself losing bits of time, hearing voices she can’t explain, and speaking with things that should not be talking back to her, all while her neighbors’ passive-aggressive behavior begins to morph into something far more threatening. Though Steve assures her this is all in her head, Alice cannot fight the feeling that something is very, very wrong, and that in her creation story lies the key to her and Dawn’s survival. . . . She just has to finish it before it’s too late.
Told in Alice’s raw and darkly funny voice, And Then She Fell is an urgent and unflinching look at inherited trauma, womanhood, denial, and false allyship, which speeds to an unpredictable—and surreal—climax.
About the author
Alicia Elliott is a Mohawk writer from Six Nations of the Grand River territory. Her award-winning first book A Mind Spread Out on the Ground was a national bestseller. She lives in Brantford, Ontario, with her husband and son.
Named a Most Anticipated Book by Toronto Star, the CBC, Bustle, The Walrus, CrimeReads, and ABC News.
"And Then She Fell is at once engrossing and profound, terrifying and empathetic. Like The Bell Jar, it sheds new light on the trope of the mad woman, laying bare the million blows it takes to leave a person unhinged." —The Walrus
"This novel is part time travel and part horror, as full of heart as it is bold." —Publishers Weekly
"A tale of injustice and veiled persecution seen through a fevered imagination." —Kirkus Reviews
“This first novel from Elliott is an evocative, cerebral study of womanhood, identity, and selfhood wrapped in Haudenosaunee legend…. Often funny, often chilling, And Then She Fell studies an Indigenous woman’s unraveling in a world that she’s ashamed to feel so disconnected from, and Elliott tells her story with assuredness and weight.” —Booklist
"a daring, dark exploration of motherhood, mental health and identity following the story of a young Haudenosaunee mother. . . . An investigation into inherited trauma and womanhood, this voice-centered novel packs quite a punch." —ABC News
“Creepy, thoughtful, and immersive!” —CrimeReads
“Alicia Elliott’s satirical debut book is awash in trippy black humor.” —Bustle
"Familiar and ethereal. Brutal and beautiful. And Then She Fell is the fulfilment of the promise of Alicia Elliott ‘s storytelling prowess. . . . A soundtrack for the gorgeous nightmare that is both motherhood and belonging in and of itself, stitched together by the depths only grief and love can hook together. The Naked Lunch meets Rosemary’s Baby . . . and shot together with the golden humour and philosophy of Haudenosaunee story like an intimate lifeline, And Then She Fell is remarkable, and a world unto itself. What an accomplishment. What a gift.” —Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves and VenCo
"Alice and her husband have woven a lattice pattern of silence and secrets that slowly implodes in this fierce, remarkable debut. Elliott’s meticulous prose is an agile portal through the narrator’s complex inner life, the tensions, and fractures that surface when the trappings of success hide the weight of intergenerational trauma, racism, sexism, and the unwieldy expectations of Motherhood. And Then She Fell saves us from devastation by the grace it shows its characters and, ultimately, by the strength of their connections." —Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach and the Trickster trilogy
"And Then She Fell is shocking, riveting, uncomfortable, gorgeous and visionary. Alicia Elliott destabilizes the reader and forces them to confront the horror of otherness. The cannibalism of Indigenous culture by academia is portrayed in a grotesque tableau that rivals the worlds of Jordan Peele. Elliott's remarkable, genre-blurring, and brilliant writing takes us into a world of metaphor and myth and nature. Her world-building is as menacing and spectacular as that of Jeff VanderMeer and Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Elliott's true gift to the reader is a new perspective on Indigeneity which is both humbling and earth-shattering." —Heather O’Neill, author of When We Lost Our Heads
"Haunting and surreal, And Then She Fell had me questioning reality alongside Alice as she grappled with motherhood, being a writer, a wife, and feeling like an outsider in her own life. With its sharp wit and beautiful writing, this book had me flying through the pages." —Ana Reyes, author of The House in the Pines
“Alicia Elliott’s thorough and thoughtful examination of motherhood, intergenerational trauma, and modern Indigenous realities is a caring salve for Indigenous readers and an important enlightenment for others. I loved its profound exploration of the spaces we navigate as Indigenous peoples – from the rez to the city and beyond – and I greatly appreciated the depth of humanity with which Elliott was able to portray her rez characters. This novel is a triumph of Indigenous truths and experiences.” —Waubgeshig Rice, author of Moon of the Crusted Snow and Moon of the Turning Leaves
"A stunning, propulsive novel that complexly folds generational love and mental health into a story about relationships: the ones we have with our ancestors, our family and friends, and ourselves. . . . I laughed, cried, and rooted for the women in these pages. For their unending love for each other in every timeline of life, and for the ways in which they continue to choose each other in spite of trauma, disorder, and colonial forces who hope they don’t. I’m so happy that a novel like this exists, and I am excited to see the future of writing that this work inspires. And Then She Fell is a triumph of a debut." —Jessica Johns, author of Bad Cree
"And Then She Fell is an incredible and indelible novel. It's full of wonder and surprise, full of life and heart. This book is a gift that breathes life into the reader. Alicia Elliott has given us a knockout—a book so good you can't put it down." —Morgan Talty, author of Night of the Living Rez
“I could not put this book down. And Then She Fell is one of the most mesmeric, intoxicatingly original novels I have read in recent years, with a central character I will carry with me for a very long time.” —Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rights
“A towering achievement, stunningly good storytelling.” —Melissa Lucashenko, Miles Franklin Award-winning author of Too Much Lip
"And Then She Fell is an unblinking look at the complex and often terrifying journey of new motherhood and what we're told we should want, with moving insights into connecting with our ancestors and our own identity. Alicia Elliott is a powerful storyteller, and this book is both suspenseful and heartfelt, with haunting elements that linger long after the final page is turned." —Vanessa Lillie, author of Little Voices and Blood Sisters