March 18, 1925. The day begins as any other rainy, spring day in the small town of Marah, Illinois. But the town lies directly in the path of the worst tornado in US history, which will descend without warning at midday, and leave the community in ruins. By nightfall, hundreds will be homeless and hundreds more will lie in the streets, dead or grievously injured. Only one man, Paul Graves, will still have everything he started the day with—his family, his home, and his business, all miraculously intact. Based on the historic Tri-State tornado, Falling to Earth follows Paul Graves and his young family in the year after the storm as they struggle to comprehend their own fate and that of their devastated town, as they watch Marah try to resurrect itself from the ruins, and as they miscalculate the growing resentment and hostility around them with tragic results. Beginning with its electrifying opening pages, Falling to Earth is at once a revealing portrayal of survivor's guilt and the frenzy of bereavement following a disaster, a meditation on family, and a striking depiction of Midwestern life in the 1920's. Falling to Earth marks the debut of a splendid new writing talent.
Kate Southwood received an M.A. in French Medieval Art from the University of Illinois, and an M.F.A. in Fiction from the University of Massachusetts Program for Poets and Writers. Born and raised in Chicago, she now lives in Oslo, Norway with her husband and their two daughters. Falling to Earth is her first novel.