Ann-Marie MacDonald's first novel, published in 1996, brought her
international attention and acclaim for its riveting depiction of a
family beset by hidden desires and secrets.
Fall on Your Knees begins in a small mining community in
Nova Scotia in the early 1900s and moves to the battlefields of the
First World War and then to Harlem during the Jazz Age and the
It all begins when James elopes with his 13-year-old bride, Materia
Mahmoud, whose Lebanese father then casts her out and curses her.
Four sisters are born into the family: beautiful Kathleen, who sings
like an angel, self-sacrificing and obedient Mercedes, naughty,
rebellious Frances and pure-hearted Lily. There is hope, talent and
passion in each of them, but each is affected in her own way by their
father's hold on their lives.
Fall on Your Knees has been translated into more than 20
languages and has won numerous awards and accolades, including the
Canadian Authors' Association Literary Award, the Commonwealth Writers
Prize for Best First Book and the Canadian Booksellers Association
Libris Award. It was also a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and
was selected for Oprah's Book Club in 2002.