pathetic fallacy

FALLING
by Anne Simpson

Falling opens with a tragic tableau that is the catalyst for this moving new novel by erstwhile Canadian poet Anne Simpson. Riding an ATV along a Nova Scotia beach, a teenaged girl, Lisa, is crushed under the weight of the vehicle after it overturns. Pinned in the sand, she drowns in just a few inches of water while her brother Damian — a young man with the remote beauty of a Greek god — dozes nearby. Her cry, we are told, “could have been that of an Arctic tern, high above, its wings an open pair of scissors against the blue.” Later, as Damian stares out the ambulance window that shuttles his sister’s lifeless body to hospital, there is a sense of inverted pathetic fallacy in the description of people going about their daily activities on a sun-drenched day, oblivious to the sudden snuffing out of life. Read more…