The Fall of Lisa Bellow

A Novel

The Fall of Lisa Bellow

The breakout novel from the critically acclaimed author of the short story collections Who I Was Supposed to Be and Why They Run the Way They Do—when a middle school girl is abducted in broad daylight, a fellow student and witness to the crime copes with the tragedy in unforgettable ways.

What happens to the girl left behind?

A masked man with a gun enters a sandwich shop in broad daylight, and Meredith Oliver finds herself ordered to the filthy floor, where she trembles face to face with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow—the most popular girl in her eighth grade class. Lying there, Meredith is utterly convinced she will die. But then the gunman orders Lisa Bellow to stand and come with him, leaving Meredith cowering in the wake of a life-altering near-tragedy.

As the community stages vigils and search parties for Lisa Bellow, Meredith spends days shut away in her room, hiding in the dark landscape of her imagination. Meredith’s mother, Claire, can see that her daughter is irreparably changed—she is here, but not. And as Claire grows more and more desperate to reach her, it becomes clear that Meredith is in a place where Claire can’t go, searching for Lisa Bellow where no one else can.

The Fall of Lisa Bellow is a beautiful illustration of how one family, broken by tragedy, finds healing and makes sense of the nonsensical. In this “daring” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), “sharp, and suspenseful” (Publishers Weekly), “utterly captivating and achingly beautiful” (Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia) novel, the critically acclaimed Susan Perabo asserts herself yet again as an engrossing storyteller and a master at cracking open the human psyche.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476761480 | 
  • March 2018
List Price $22.00 (price may vary by retailer)

Read an Excerpt

Hear an Excerpt

Resources

To download a file to your computer right-click on the link and choose 'save file as'

High Resolution Images

Any use of an author photo must include its respective photo credit

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Fall of Lisa Bellow includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Susan Perabo. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

A story of the intricate ties that bind families together, The Fall of Lisa Bellow starts with a harrowing near-kidnapping that leaves one family questioning how to move forward. Husband and wife dentists Mark and Claire retreat into old patterns, while their teenage children Evan and Meredith forge new identities as the community reels around them.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Claire’s experience of motherhood is very different from Colleen Bellow’s, both in attitude and in circumstance. Who do you think is the “better” mother, and why?

2. The dark underbelly of a “safe” suburban life is a through line in the book. In what ways does the Oliver family fit the “picture perfect” suburban mold? In what ways do they not?

3. Evan was once Meredith’s “best friend, confidante, the love of her life.” How does Meredith and Evan’s relationship change over the course of the novel? How had it changed even before Evan see more

More Books from this Author

Why They Run the Way They Do
Who I Was Supposed to Be
The Broken Places

About the Author

Susan Perabo
Sha'an Chilson

Susan Perabo

Susan Perabo is the author of the collections of short stories, Who I Was Supposed to Be and Why They Run the Way They Do, and the novels The Broken Places and The Fall of Lisa Bellow. Her fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize Stories, and New Stories from the South, and has appeared in numerous magazines, including One Story, Glimmer Train, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, and The Sun. She is Writer in Residence and professor of English at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and on the faculty of the low-residency MFA Program at Queens University. She holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

BECOME A FAN

Explore

CONNECT WITH US