The Falling Woman is a slowish, atmospheric read which got hooks into me and wouldn’t let go. I love the setting — the archaeological dig, the tensions of the excavation team, even the awkwardness between the long estranged mother and daughter… It feels like the kind of site it is: laden with history, meaning, and maybe even ghosts. It’s hard to describe, and to do so would be a disservice if you want to read the book, I think; the whole point is the slow unwinding, the building of tension and uncanniness, even threat.
What’s also awesome is that this is a book populated with women — not all female characters, but still, a good proportion. And they talk to each other (about things other than men!), and work and get dirty and bitten by bugs and tired till they ache. They like or dislike each other, find it difficult to relate, enjoy one another’s company or avoid it, and it feels real. No tokenism here (though perhaps a bit of racial stereotyping around the boyfriends the younger women pick up during their time off), and no false utopia either. Things are complicated, sometimes things aren’t even solved, and Murphy handles it well.
Definitely don’t read introductions or summaries, for this one. Give it time to reveal itself to you — I think you’ll be glad if you do.