“If only there were more unruly girls like Alice K., unwilling to submit to dogma or tradition — the world would be a better place.”
— Julia Scheeres, the New York Times bestselling author of Jesus Land
A first novel from a beloved regional author in which an Iowa farm family and its Dutch Calvinist inhabitants struggle with and are redeemed by land, love, and their faith in one another.
Seventeen-year-old Alice Marie Krayenbraak is beautiful, witty, a star student, and a gifted athlete. On the surface, she has it all. But in Alice’s hometown of Dutch Center, Iowa, nothing is as it seems. Behind the façade of order and tidiness, the family farm is failing. Alice’s mother is behaving strangely amid apocalyptic fears of Y2K. And her parents have announced their plans to send her special-needs sister Aldah away. On top of it all, the uniformly Dutch Calvinist town has been rattled by an influx of foreign farm workers.
It’s the fall of senior year, and Alice now finds herself at odds with both family and cultural norms when she befriends and soon falls in love with Nickson Vang, the son of Hmong immigrants. Caught in a period of personal and community transformation, Alice and Nickson must navigate their way through vastly different traditions while fighting to create new ones of their own. Funny and provocative, amusing and unsettling, The Fall of ’99 marks a watershed moment in the publishing career of author, Jim Heynen.
Jim Heynen is perhaps best known for his collections of short prose featuring young farm boys: The One-Room Schoolhouse, The Boys’ House, and Fishing for Chickens. His poetry includes The Man Who Kept Cigars in His Hat and, most recently, Standing Naked. Heynen lives in Saint Paul, MN.