Book Review: Before the Fall (Noah Hawley)

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Noah Hawley is best known for his various work on the FX television show “Fargo”. Apparently, he produces, writes and has directed an episode of the show. I personally have never watched an episode but I need to get on that bandwagon because I absolutely LOVED the way this story was weaved together.

Before the Fall, described by some the “thriller of the year”, shares the story of a plane crash in reverse. During the first few chapters, we get the tragedy; a private jet crashes after departing from Martha’s Vineyard. Full of privileged, powerful people, only Scott (a painter and recovering alcoholic) and a young boy (three-year-old J.J) survive.   The rest of the book, we get the aftermath of the crash, it’s effects on the survivors and intricately woven flashbacks that tell us bits and pieces so we get the entire picture.

First Impression:

I loved the beginning of this book.  From the minute I picked it up, I was hooked.

 Characters:

Hawley knows what he is doing; his essential characters had so much depth and were well written. I particularly really enjoyed Scott. From his “every man” type archetype to his tie to swimming and Jack LaLanne, it kept him relatable and likeable. I really liked hearing his perspective. I also loved the relationship that he developed with J.J.

Plot:

This plot was intricately weaved. It left me constantly questioning. Was this really an accident? A conspiracy? What is going on? I wanted to know more.  From what I have been hearing, the movie rights have already been signed. I’m not surprised. I think that it will make a fantastic film.

 Narration:

We get multiple narrators in this novel. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again-I am a huge fan of this type of narration. However, in this novel, I found myself getting annoyed. We had the essential characters (people involved in the crash) but then we also get some completely random narrators. I found myself wondering why I needed the perspective of this random news reporter. I expected this would come back to connect later but then I would never hear from them again.

The End:

This ending left me with a visceral hatred. Let me be clear, I was raving about this book to everyone. I was raving about it at work. I was raving about it on Instagram. Then I finished it. The ending was completely rushed. It felt like I had been weaved around and twisted for a real dud of an ending. I won’t spoil it, but I would have rather the book ended 20 pages earlier with no clear resolution.

 WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? Yes, I’d recommend it but I’d suggest reading it and ripping out the last 20 pages. Just create your own ending. You’ll probably enjoy it more! True story.

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