The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia’s parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest, and the Salon Book Award, Anne Fadiman’s compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest.
Rural Wisconsin, 1909. Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper ad for “a reliable wife.” But when Catherine Land steps off the train, she’s not the “simple, honest woman” Ralph is expecting. Both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed, her plan is simple: win this man’s devotion, then slowly poison him, and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she hasn’t counted on is that Ralph, a passionate man with his own dark secrets, has plans of his own.
Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership. In meltdown, she leaves her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and is offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea she’s a lawyer, and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven–or sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.