Mary and Ross were in Rome on a junior-year-abroad program when they had their baby, Natassia, who was conceived on a dare: “Do it with no birth control,” another couple had challenged. “We’ll do it if you do it . . .”
Mary and Ross are unmarried, ambitious, and way too young, and though smitten with their daughter, they eventually—and with regret—abdicate responsibility to Ross’s parents, who raise Natassia in the intellectually stimulating (and seemingly loving) atmosphere of their Manhattan apartment. Fifteen years later, 1989, Natassia is an Honors student and a violin player. Despite the absence of her mother, a world-class modern dancer who survives by living in the moment, and her father, a physician in the Pacific Northwest, Natassia is thriving—until her mysterious romance with a man she will not identify derails her so profoundly that her parents, grandparents, and even her godparents, Nora and Christopher, must come together to save her. A dancer, a doctor, two book editors, a painter and a psychotherapist—all are forced to turn away from and also draw upon the creative and intellectual endeavors that consume and define them. Struggling to buoy Natassia, her guardians sink along with her into the deepest darkness.
Mary, a Korean war orphan, must learn from step one how to provide the mother love she herself never received; indeed, the daughter’s breakdown sparks the mother’s coming-of-age. Ross, still in love with Mary after ten years’ separation, must face the consequences of his obsessions. And Nora and Christopher, burdened by a decades-old secret, use desperate measures to save Natassia—and their marriage.
Within the intimate universe of one unorthodox family, Falling in Love with Natassia explores the blurred lines between love that heals and sex that harms. These characters will shock you with how forcefully their hurt hearts demand restitution; they will mystify you with the paths they choose as they move toward recovery and redemption.
About Anna Monardo
ANNA MONARDO is the author of The Courtyard of Dreams. Her work has appeared in a variety of anthologies and journals, including Prairie Schooner, where a prize-winning excerpt of Falling in Love with Natassia was first published. After many years… More about Anna Monardo
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Published by Doubleday Jun 20, 2006| 400 Pages| ISBN 9780385518857
“A passionate novel about a dancer and her daughter as they rediscover the nature of grace—within their bodies and their souls. Anna Monardo writes beautifully and vividly about the fusion of love and sorrow, about the mystery of redemption.”
—Ursula Hegi, author of Stones from the River
“Falling in Love with Natassia is both an absorbing story and an intimate exploration of the mysterious corners and contradictions of human desire. Anna Monardo distinguishes herself as a major talent, drawing characters whose interior lives are as fully realized as the exquisitely detailed worlds they inhabit. This is that rare novel that is at once epic in its scope and unafraid to plumb its own psychological depths—in other words, a true work of art.”
—Meghan Daum, author of The Quality of Life Report and My Misspent Youth
“Monardo’s sentences are as lyrical as those of her debut …” —Publishers Weekly