The Fall of Alice K.
Seventeen-year-old Alice Marie Krayenbraak is beautiful and witty, a star student and a gifted athlete. On the surface, she has it all. But in Alice’s hometown of Dutch Center, Iowa, nothing is as it seems. Behind the façade of order and tidiness, the family farm is failing, Alice’s mother awaits the apocalypse, and her parents are planning to send her special-needs sister away. On top of it all, Dutch Center has been rattled by an influx of foreign farm workers.
In the fall of her senior year, Alice falls in love with Nickson Vang, the son of Hmong immigrants. Caught at a moment of personal and community transformation, Alice and Nickson must navigate their way through vastly different traditions while fighting to create new ones of their own.
Funny and provocative, amusing and unsettling, The Fall of Alice K. is an unforgettable novel from celebrated author Jim Heynen.
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Praise and Prizes
“Alice is a wonderful creation—smart, courageous, capable, and determined to go her own way. She’s also a true original and ready to take her place in the pantheon of literary teenagers.”
“If only there were more unruly girls like Alice, unwilling to submit to dogma or tradition—the world would be a better place.”
“Alice’s navigation of the rough seas of first love, oncoming adulthood and a family crisis might be an effective metaphor for what the larger community is facing at the turn of the millennium—but it doesn’t read like a metaphor. It is, in keeping with Jim Heynen’s considerable gifts, painstakingly particular, immediate and moving. . . . Hers is a finely focused, perfectly calibrated story of finding a balance between putting down roots and reaching for the light.”
“Jim Heynen’s description of landscape masterfully captures farm life on the Plains, as unpredictable as it can be. . . . What Heynen does with describing the Dutch community and the Iowa landscape harkens to writers like Willa Cather and Annie Proulx.”
“Jim Heynen captures perfectly that time of life when we struggle to define ourselves against the backdrop of our family, our community, our religion, and above all the dreams we have for ourselves. Alice is a character I won’t soon forget. Hers is a deeply moving story shaped by an expert and generous hand.”
“I’ve been a fan of Jim Heynen’s small stories about the boys for years. How wonderful to meet one of the girls on the farm, and someone as bright, courageous, complex, and real as Alice. Heynen’s depictions of small town Midwestern life are spot-on, and Alice is a character to root for. This is a terrific novel, at turns funny, heartbreaking, touching, and poetic—a compelling read that just keeps getting better and better. I loved this book.”