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Manon Uphoff

  • Original Title: VALLEN IS ALS VLIEGEN
  • Publication date: March 2019
  • Country: NL
  • 191 print pages
  • Drama


  • Epoch: Mixed
  • Time Period: 20th century, 21st century
  • Location setting: Netherlands
  • Themes: FAMILY, Siblings, Dysfunctional family, Paternity, PEOPLE facing life, Looking back on one's life, Resilience, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Psychological dysfunction, LOVE / HATE, Destruction, Perversion


A novel about a father who sexually abuses his four daughters from early childhood, based on the author’s own experiences.


Translation rights sold: UK, Spain

Longlisted for the Libris Literature Prize, the most prestigious Dutch Literary Prize
Nominated for the Bookspot Prize
Nominated for the Opzij Prize

Feb 2020: The novel is currently in its 10th print run

"This literary tour de force is a testament to astonishing resilience." Netherlands Letterenfonds

Described as a "dark, sensitive, overwhelming” autobiographical novel

Pushkin said of the Dutch writer and her novel: “In FALLING IS LIKE FLYING she recreates a childhood lived in the shadow of an abusive father with verve, brilliance and originality, resulting in what critics have called ‘starry sky of stylistic invention’, hailing her ability to find ‘the language for a story that is almost impossible to tell’."

Manon Uphoff (born in 1962) has an impressive backlist of literary highlights, ranging from impressive novels to stylistically brilliant short stories. Her novella DE VANGER (The Catcher, 2002), has been made into a movie.


When her older sister, starving and dehydrated, falls down the stairs and dies, it sparks the writer’s anger and stirs up past pain. The death of Henne Vuur, her older sister and a second mother to her, forces her to face a horrible and frightening past.
She came from a large family and was one of the youngest siblings ‘the afterthoughts’, while Henne Vuur and Toddiewoddie were much older. She tells how she and her sisters were all sexually abused at the hands of the monstrous Holbein. This trauma almost certainly contributed to Henne Vuur’s wasting away, along with her having to care for her lazy, unemployed, obese son.
As a prosecutor and chronicler, she records that past in a book full of stories: about her father, Holbein, who was a designer, wizard, scientist, hurried seminarian and god of a personal, labyrinthine world; about Libby and Toddiewoddie, her other sisters, with whom she can take revenge.

Comments from Netherlands Letterenfonds

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