If I Fall, If I Die: A Novel

By Michael Christie

A heartfelt and wondrous debut approximately kinfolk, worry, and skateboarding, that Karen Russell calls "A bruiser of a story . . . a death-defying coming-of-age story."

Will hasn't ever been outdoors, not less than now not when you consider that he can bear in mind. And he has definitely by no means gotten to grasp somebody except his mom, a fiercely loving but wildly eccentric agoraphobe who panics on the considered establishing front door. Their international is wealthy and enjoyable- loving—full of paintings, technological know-how experiments, and music—and all restricted to their small house.

yet Will’s thirst for experience can’t be contained. Clad in a protecting helmet and uncertain of the way to speak to different young children, he eventually ventures outside.  At his new university he meets Jonah, an artsy loner who introduces Will to the high-flying freedoms of skateboarding.  jointly, they look for a lacking neighborhood boy, aid a bedraggled vagabond, and stay clear of a deadly bootlegger.  the journey is greater than Will ever anticipated, pulling him faraway from the confines of his closed-off international and into the throes of early maturity, and all of the hazards that lifestyle offers.   

In buoyant, kinetic prose, Michael Christie has written an emotionally resonant and keenly saw novel approximately moms and sons, fears and uncertainties, and the lengths we’ll opt for these we love.

From the Hardcover edition.

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His face crinkled. He took a breath, then held it and squinted tougher. “My what? ” he acknowledged. His voice used to be smooth and quick, equipped completely of gentle tones just like the excessive notes on a bass. “Your masterpieces,” acknowledged Will. “I observed a few whilst i used to be sitting on your table. They’re extraordinary. ” “Leave me on my own, kid,” Jonah stated dispassionately, shaking his head as if they’d been speaking for hours, attempting to untangle a few tough challenge, and Jonah had eventually reached his restrict. He retreated back to his sketchbook. Will watched him for a defeated second ahead of making his as far back as Angela. That evening at domestic, Will enable his slow-cooked butternut squash enchiladas cool untouched earlier than him. He observed his mom quake on the sight of his uneaten foodstuff, nearly savoring this new energy of refusal he wielded over her. “Why did you inform me that images are referred to as ‘masterpieces’? ” he acknowledged. “Oh,” she acknowledged, environment her fork down. “That. ” She snapped her elastic, and he resisted the urge to invite why the hell was once that question frightening. “Well, simply because that’s what they are surely. ” “No, they’re not,” he acknowledged sharply. considering the fact that he’d been going to college, there arrived inexplicable moments while simply the timbre of her voice used to be sufficient to irrigate him with rage, moments that handed as speedy as they got here. “To me they're. ” “Well, to people they aren’t, like people who find themselves really sturdy artists,” he acknowledged, throwing his serviette at his plate. “And there’s extra of them than us, mother. ” eight Snow fell on a daily basis after Halloween, as if the lake had picked itself up and thrown itself inland, snuffing immediately the bright bonfire of fall. inside of, Will had simply felt the chilly of the freezer in Toronto, yet now immersed in it, he cherished the completeness wintry weather introduced. Snow made the skin extra just like the inside of, a white sheet positioned over the realm, one huge, immense blanket fortress. Will whiled away hours in his backyard, investigating snowbanks, trying out their crusts and consistencies, reconnoitering their cliffs and drifts. He stumbled on snow wasn’t tasteless—it tasted like membership soda, yet now not as gross. And slush was once so named as a result of sound it made. And the sand that plows threw at the highway yielded a substance that used to be part earth, part ice and the deceptively inviting consistency of brown sugar. His mom had forbidden tunnel forts, so he left his open to the sky. whereas she peered out from the window in Paris, Will could recline in his burrow, staring at frizzy clouds saunter previous, thinking about if his pal Marcus lay someplace outdoors precisely like this, turning his face to a similar unending sky, untroubled that nobody used to be there to guard him. through the years, Will’s mom had learn him one thousand tales approximately orphans torn from their mom and dad and deserted to the wilds of the surface. Will had by no means had that challenge. His were the other: an excessive amount of defense. yet just like the twelve and the only on a clock’s face, he and Marcus have been in the direction of one another than you’d think—“Other Will,” he’d known as him at the beginning. Will had seeing that heard Angela use Marcus’s be aware, no matter what, to specific a whole indifference, yet Will may possibly nonetheless listen the real tenderness with which Marcus had provided it.

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