James Piper is an 18 year old piano tuner who falls in with a 13 year old girl named Materia. Materia's father disowns her because she is married to someone outside of her culture. Together, James and Materia have three children, Kathleen, Mercedes and Francis. Kathleen is sent away to New York when she is 16 to study opera singing. Here she has a lesbian affair. James catches her with Rose and rapes Kathleen. James takes Kathleen back home to Cape Breton in Canada and 9 months later she gives birth to twins, Ambrose and Lily. Materia kills herself. James rapes Francis, who rebels against her father as a result. Mercedes takes on the mothering role of Lily and Francis.
This report prepared by Robyn Patterson
Following the curves of history in the first half of the twentieth century, Fall on Your Knees takes us from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, through the battlefields of World War 1, to the emerging jazz scene in New York City, and into the lives of four sisters. The mythically charged family-James, a father of intelligence and immense ambition; Materia, his Lebanese child-bride, and their daughters: Kathleen, the oldest, a beautiful talent preparing for a career as an opera diva; Frances, incorrigible liar and bad girl; Mercedes, obsessive Catholic and protector of the flock; and Lily, the adored invalid who takes us on a quest for truth and redemption-is supported by a richly textured cast of characters. This book is also all about inescapable family bonds, terrible secrets, miracles, racial strife, attempted murder, birth and death, and forbidden love.
This report prepared by Boppy
The book starts with James Piper who goes into the piano tuning business. Through his work he meets Materia (who is 13 at the time; him 18) and they elope. Together they have 3 daughters: Kathleen. Raised mainly by James and is destined to become an opera diva until she goes to New York for lessons and returns pregnant. The pregnancy kills her. Mercedes takes over taking care of the family when her mother dies, and tries to rationalize things in a religious manner. Frances, the corrupter of the family who accidentally kills one of Kathleen's twin children, Ambrose, and causes the other, Lily, to contract polio and be crippled. Frances resorts to prostitution to heal herself and saves all of the money for Lily. Lily is Kathleen's daughter, with whom she was impregnated with by her incestuous father. The novel focuses on the Piper family from start to finish, following them through World War 1 and beyond, illustrating the trials, tribulations, and dissapointments of the family.
This report prepared by Shawn Vaillancourt