“Dana Czapnik’s debut is a sharp coming-of-age story set in New York City in the mid-1990s with an unforgettable protagonist: Lucy is a street-smart basketball phenom who is secretly in love with Percy, her best friend and fellow baller. Lucy and Percy jump off the page through Czapnik’s propulsive, stylish writing. These characters are interesting, warm, and quirky and feel entirely authentic as they struggle to define who they are and want to become. Czapnik’s novel has personality and an attitude that infuses the pages and makes it impossible to put down.”
— Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, TX
A New York Times Editor’s Choice Pick
“A novel of huge heart and fierce intelligence. It has restored my faith in pretty much everything.” —Ann Patchett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth
In this “frank, bittersweet coming-of-age story that crackles with raw adolescent energy, fresh-cut prose, and a kinetic sense of place” (Entertainment Weekly), a teenaged tomboy explores love, growing up, and New York City in the early 1990s.
New York, 1993. Seventeen-year-old Lucy Adler, a street-smart, trash-talking baller, is often the only girl on the public courts. Lucy’s inner life is a contradiction. She’s by turns quixotic and cynical, insecure and self-possessed, yet she is in unrequited love with her best friend Percy, the scion of a prominent New York family who insists he wishes to resist his uppercrust fate.
As Lucy navigates this tentative relationship in all its youthful heartache and prepares for life in the broader world, she begins to question accepted notions of success, bristling against her own hunger for male approval and searching for an authentic way to live and love amid the rapidly changing world of New York City. “As much the portrait of an era as it is the portrait of an adolescence, this is a crossover novel that will thrill readers of all generations” (Colum McCann, bestselling author of Let the Great World Spin).
Providing a vivid snapshot of the city’s youth as they grapple with privilege and the fading of radical hopes, The Falconer paints a captivating portrait of a young woman in the first flush of freedom. “Coming-of-age in Manhattan may not have been done this brilliantly since Catcher in the Rye…Get ready to fall in love” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
About the Author
Dana Czapnik is a 2018 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Fiction from The New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2017, she was awarded an Emerging Writers Fellowship from the Center for Fiction. Czapnik earned her MFA at Hunter College where she was recognized with a Hertog Fellowship. She’s spent most of her career on the editorial side of professional sports including stints at ESPN the Magazine, the United States Tennis Association, and the Arena Football League. A native New Yorker, she lives in Manhattan with her husband and son. The Falconer is her debut novel.
"Coming-of-age in Manhattan may not have been done this brilliantly since Catcher in the Rye. . . . Get ready to fall in love."
—Kirkus (starred review)
“Smart, tough, an extraordinary athlete, Lucy Adler teeters, zealous and baffled, on the cusp of womanhood. Dana Czapnik’s frank heroine has a voice, and a perspective, you won’t soon forget. The Falconer is an exhilarating debut.”
—Claire Messud, author of The Burning Girl and The Woman Upstairs
“A deeply affecting tale of a young woman coming of age in a man’s world. All the characters feel authentic and unique, and its protagonist, Lucy Adler, jumps right off the page. I’ve never read a character quite like her in fiction - a deeply intelligent basketball player with a sharp, incisive take on the changing city and country in which she lives. Lucy’s journey into adulthood will be especially resonant with today’s readers.”
—Salman Rushdie, author of The Golden House and Midnight’s Children
“An unsentimental education in all that is urgent, soulful and intimate. As much the portrait of an era as it is the portrait of an adolescence, this is a crossover novel that will thrill readers of all generations. The Falconer captures the grueling, exhilarating pathos of one woman’s quest to become whole. A wonderful debut.”
—Colum McCann, author of Thirteen Ways of Looking and Let The Great World Spin
"The Falconer is a novel of huge heart and fierce intelligence. It has restored my faith in pretty much everything."
—Ann Patchett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and co-owner of Parnassus Books
“Meet Lucy Adler. As I read The Falconer, I felt like I'd found a literary cousin of Holden Caulfield--if Holden were a straight-shooting, hip-hop-listening, court-dominating, seventeen-year-old Jewish-Italian girl. Dana Czapnik has crafted a wholly original coming-of-age story. In basketball terms, The Falconer is a fearless three-point shot.”
—Chloe Benjamin, author of The Immortalists and The Anatomy of Dreams
"Told with a poet's ear and a basketball player's eye and reflexes, The Falconer is an extraordinary book. Czapnik is refreshingly honest and open-eyed about the way money, gender and the demands of the body steer the overwhelming longings and frustrations of being a young woman growing up in the city. Every detail feels true and important, every small observation tells a larger story. A wonderful new talent."
—Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances and American Innovations