Cassandra Soelberg, pregnant at seventeen, was cast out of her community by religious leaders. Returning to her rural Utah hometown after nearly forty years to care for her senile mother, she meets a young man with an uncanny resemblance to the father of the child she was forced to give up for adoption. Drawn back into traumatic scenes of young adulthood, she must reconcile with her past in the fiercely beautiful landscapes that shaped her. What Falls Away is a stunning novel about family, art, and the raw process of healing.
August 2023 | Fiction | 9781948814799 | 384 pp | $18.95
"You can’t ‘used to come’ from someplace. You always come from that place, like it or not."
—KARIN ANDERSON, What Falls Away
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
KARIN ANDERSON is a gardener, writer, mother, wanderer, and heretic, as well as the author of Before Us Like a Land of Dreams. Her work has appeared in Dialogue, Quarter After Eight, Western Humanities Review, Sunstone, Saranac Review, American Literary Review, and Fiddleback. A former professor of English at Utah Valley University, she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and holds degrees from Utah State University, Brigham Young University, and the University of Utah. She hails from the Great Basin.
PRAISE FOR WHAT FALLS AWAY
“Sharp, poetic prose... her story commands attention."
— FOREWORD REVIEWS
“Anderson brings us a vision of what family and redemption can and should look like, if we get real, as real as the desert demands that we be. Outstanding.”
—JOANNA BROOKS, author of Book of Mormon Girl
“What Falls Away is a family saga that shows us we are more alike than we are different. I loved this story. It hit close to home—as it will for so many women.”
—ANNE HOLMAN, The King’s English Bookshop
"Read this book. It’ll change how you feel about family. And if you have thought, as I have, that the biases, judgments, and practices of extreme Mormon culture have nothing to do with you, What Falls Away will change how you experience salvation, too."
—JULIE J. NICHOLS, Association for Mormon Letters
“No contemporary novelist renders the apostates and patriarchy of the American West with more life and depth than Karin Anderson.”
—CHARLIE QUIMBY, author of Monument Road
“Resisting an easy restoration to compensate for loss, Anderson challenges notions of community, belonging, and generational ties to the land.”
—DANIELLE BEAZER DUBRASKY, author of Drift Migration
“Exceptional in every way. This novel's literary ambitions are completely fulfilled in what will likely become a classic of Western literature. Don’t miss this treasure.”
—STEVEN L. PECK, author of The Scholar of Moab
This book swallowed me whole. I expect to re-read it many times.”
—MICHAEL WILLIAM PALMER, author of Baptizing the Dead and Other Jobs
“Anderson balances the potential for violence with the potential for healing. The resulting tension kept the reader engaged to the surprising end.”
—JOHN BENNION, author of Spin
“Anderson is a visionary who understands the transformational power of story.”
—KAREN AUVINEN, author of Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living
ALSO BY THE AUTHOR
BLOSSOM AS THE CLIFFROSE: Mormon Legacies and the Beckoning Wild
Blossom as the Cliffrose features original poems and prose by talented writers who are faithful, non-faithful, believers, heretics, converts and de-converts, dragged in or forced out of the Mormon faith. This dynamic collection demonstrates the breadth, complexity, and diversity of a Latter-day Saint legacy of commitment to natural place and challenges us to examine the myriad ways our own deeply rooted heritage shapes our personal relationship with landscape.
“Meditative and energizing, fierce and loving, balanced and rhythmic. An invitation to welcome faith and nature, and to embrace the tensions and beauty that spring from every crack and cranny along the way.”
BEFORE US LIKE A LAND OF DREAMS
Before Us Like a Land of Dreams follows a disheartened mother traveling an evocative route through the arid West. As her narration fades, the ancestral dead speak directly: a ragged Mormon boy yearns after a Shoshone family. A defeated polygamous wife shuts her mouth for good. A hoarder's queer son demolishes the artifacts of his lonely Idaho childhood. Descendants of British squatters sustain family delusions until a devastating suicide shatters their royal dreams. An elite colonial clan gradually awakens to the stark blue of the Great Salt Lake. The dead yield no answers, but they conjure vivid mortal moments set in iconic—and diminishing—American places.
“A narrative extravaganza that ponders the bristled roots of ancestry, unbroken by time or place, and the muddled truths and fallacies of family history that inform who we believe we are. This masterwork flouts expectations.”
—FOREWORD REVIEWS (starred review)