Amy Falls Down by Jincy Willet
(Thomas Dunne / Brilliance Audio, 2013)
Format: audio download via library (narrated by Amy McFadden)
From Goodreads: 'Amy Gallup is an aging novelist and writing instructor living in Escondido, California, with her dog, Alphonse. Since recent unsettling events, she has made some progress. While she still has writer's block, she doesn't suffer from it. She's still a hermit, but she has allowed some of her class members into her life. She is no longer numb, angry, and sardonic: she is merely numb and bemused, which is as close to happy as she plans to get. Amy is calm.
So, when on New Year's morning she shuffles out to her backyard garden to plant a Norfolk pine, she is wholly unprepared for what happens next.
Amy falls down.
A simple accident, as a result of which something happens, and then something else, and then a number of different things, all as unpredictable as an eight-ball break. At first the changes are small, but as these small events carom off one another, Amy's life changes in ways that range from ridiculous to frightening to profound.
This most reluctant of adventurers is dragged and propelled by train, plane, and automobile through an outlandish series of antic media events on her way to becoming--to her horror--a kind of celebrity. And along the way, as the numbness begins to wear off, she comes up against something she has avoided all her life: her future, that "sleeping monster, not to be poked." '
I picked this because it's one of the titles in the Literary Fiction category of the Audies, which is one of the categories I tackled for the Armchair Audies project. Haven't read any Willet before, and definitely enjoyed this title very much. It did start slowly for me. I know it's a follow-up to a previous novel, but the former writing class (the subject of the first novel) took up too much room here. They're fun characters, but not the focus of this novel.
The focus is Amy, who is a grand introvert of a human. She's smart and acerbic and only bothers caring about whatever she wants to care about. Her phobias are right out in front, as is her insular nature and her bemusement at most of what happens from the moment the homeless woman in the ER shows her her own photograph and un-remembered words in the newspaper. Beneath it all is Amy's struggle to deal with the death of her beloved-but-platonic husband, aging, and a world that went and changed rapidly when she wasn't really looking. Her sharpness is her strength, and she is so very strong.
This would have been better as text than audio for me, I think. There were a couple of character voices that fell flat - and unfortunately they were the most frequent ones. Amy's agent was a rasping coughing screech, and while true to the page, it's the kind of thing better imagined than experienced. And Amy herself sounded far too young and engaged to fit the purportedly aging and disconnected character. Amy McFadden is a charming narrator, but not the right voice Amy Gallup.