A New York Times Editor’s Choice Pick
“A novel of huge heart and fierce intelligence. It has restored my faith in pretty much everything.” —Ann Patchett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth
“[An] electric debut novel…Reader, beware: Spending time with Lucy is unapologetic fun, and heartbreak, and awe as well.” —Chloe Malle, The New York Times Book Review
In this “frank, bittersweet coming-of-age story that crackles with raw adolescent energy, fresh-cut prose, and a kinetic sense of place” (Entertainment Weekly), a teenaged tomboy explores love, growing up, and New York City in the early 1990s.
New York, 1993. Street-smart seventeen-year-old Lucy Adler is often the only girl on the public basketball courts. Lucy’s inner life is a contradiction. She’s by turns quixotic and cynical, insecure and self-possessed, and, despite herself, is in unrequited love with her best friend and pickup teammate, Percy, the rebellious son of a prominent New York family.
As Lucy begins to question accepted notions of success, bristling against her own hunger for male approval, she is drawn into the world of a pair of provocative feminist artists living in what remains of New York’s bohemia.
Told with wit and pathos, The Falconer is at once a novel of ideas, a portrait of a time and place, and an ode to the obsessions of youth. In her critically acclaimed debut, Dana Czapnik captures the voice of an unforgettable modern literary heroine, a young woman in the first flush of freedom.
In her flawed first novel, Czapnik recreates the New York City of 1993 as seen through the eyes of Lucy Adler, an Upper West Side high school student who lives for basketball. Lucy is a member of her school's girls' basketball team and also plays pickup games in Riverside Park where she is often the sole girl on the court with her wealthy friend, Percy Abney, who seems oblivious to the fact that Lucy is in love with him. Also playing major roles in Lucy's life are her best friend and teammate, Alexis Feliz, and two downtown female artists, Violet and Max, who share an apartment in SoHo and impart to Lucy important lessons about life, love, and art. Lucy spends most of the book wandering around Manhattan, giving her story a plotless feel. And Lucy and her friends sound way too mature and savvy for their teenage years. (Lucy, for instance, describes a character having a beard "that belongs on a Hasidic rabbi from Warsaw circa 1934.") Despite a lived-in sense of place, this coming-of-age novel seems to be about jaded young characters who have already come of age, leaving them and the reader with little room for emotional development.
Customer ReviewsSee All
We all have a period in our life, many of us in high school, where we think we’ve figured the whole thing out. (Or, at least, the part that doesn’t include relationships.) We see ourselves apart from the squares (or worse) that “run things” and wish only that they had our clarity of vision, for if they did, the world would be such a better place.
“The Falconer,” reminiscent of another famous back-pocket book, tells the story of that period of a young woman’s life as new experiences, triumphant and otherwise, intervene in her worldview. All along, main character Lucy Adler navigates the city she loves, the family and friends she loves and the game she loves.
Debut author Dana Czapnik’s characters are distinct, lived-in and speak with voices informed by the streets, parks and prep schools of mid-90s Manhattan. They live, breath, bleed and grow in the subtle manner of actual human beings, avoiding the lightbulbs and lightning strikes that plague lesser prose. And while their references are of a particular time, their experiences and emotions are timeless.
Czapnik’s love for New York and basketball and her ear for the poetry in both is evident and unique, but it is her love for these characters that that formative period of life she describes that elevates her novel and offers such promise for her future works.
I can’t recommend this book more strongly for anyone who’s ever thought deeply about the world in which they live and was open minded enough to learn something new when they least expected it.