Will has never been outside, at least not since he can remember.
And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their world is rich and loving, full of art, experiments, and music—but confined to their small house.
But Will's thirst for adventure can't be contained. Clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other kids, he finally ventures outside. With the help of an artistic loner who introduces Will to the high-flying freedom of skateboarding, Will is pulled far from the confines of his closed-off world and thrust headfirst into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers.
In buoyant, kinetic prose, Michael Christie has written an emotionally resonant and keenly observed novel about mothers and sons, fears and risks, and the lengths we'll go for those we love.
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"This is a bruiser of a tale, one you will feel in your shins and your solar plexus. Michael Christie is a virtuosic prose stylist and boy is he so very wise and so funny on families and friendships, fear and joy, and the physics of sky and pavement. If I Fall, I Die is a death-defying coming of age story; it's also as weird and as convincing a love story as I have ever read. And so beautifully told that you'll want to pass it on immediately."
Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
"An astonishing piece of work. Christie combines lyrical prose and true-to-life characters--and skateboarding--to craft a remarkable tale of mothers and sons, and what it means to grow up."
Philipp Meyer, author of The Son
"Dark, threatening, dislocating and altogether brilliant."
Kirkus, (starred review)
"Rarely has the tender claustrophobia of the mother-son dynamic, the raw humanity of mental illness, or the delicate, dangerous process of growing up been rendered with such heart and sensitivity. If I Fall, If I Die mines the fundamental dilemmas of both childhood and parenthood to sublime effect. I can't recall a funnier, truer or more beautiful debut."
Patrick DeWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers
"Reading If I Fall, If I Die is like hopping on a skateboard and grabbing hold of the bumper of an accelerating car. Christie's prose pulls you on a ride through the winding streets of phobia, family, and friendship at such a clip you won't dare let go."
David Gilbert, author of & Sons
"Brims with a fierce poignancy that makes the book very difficult to put down."