“Falling Together”, the new novel by Marisa de los Santos, available in Denver bookstores, is narrated from the perspective of a single mother named Pen struggling with the loss of her father and the death of her deepest friendships. Its plot, concerning a frenzied “seek and find” game the world involving three adults and a child hinges on the quest for a dear friend who’s been missing for years. Pen has recently lost her father and is struggling to make peace with his violent death. Summoned to a reunion by a long lost friend’s plea for help, having cut ties with her old self many years before, she is stunned by a painful, poignant flood of memories. Pen, Will, and Cat met in college, developing a powerful, seemingly sacrosanct friendship. Even when, over the years, life and political or social disagreements pull them apart, if one needs the others, there ain’t no river high enough.
“Falling Together” is a powerful, uplifting story of friendship, finding love, and living each day in the world for the beauty of each moment. In this sense, it’s worthy of the highest recommendeation. The theme is a warm lulling over of cold emotional pseudo-comfort through the cold, dark night. How some people in our lives may be “gone but here.” They love one another as friends until stopping. The breakup discombobulates them all. A big college reunion might help sort things out, but no!—it’s not that easy. To say they would travel to the ends of the earth just to save their hard-won friendship is an understatement, at best. De los Santos has a background in poetry and her writing is marked with imagistic flair. The description of settings and places were ornate and I found her writing of some of the secondary characters particularly striking. The result is a frieze of people growing, changing, and learning, getting over guilt and past grievances to live with joy in their boots. When finding Cat becomes the most important thing about the Phillippines, readers thrill to visions of tiny monkeys, may even believe themselves to be traveling in one of the seats besides them on the plane. These resaders! Falling Togetheris a feel-good novel which lovers of de los Santos’ previous efforts will likely enjoy very much.