Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (Epub)

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Ebook Info

  • Published: 2017
  • Number of pages: 416 pages
  • Format: Epub
  • File Size: 0.64 MB
  • Authors: Noah Hawley


On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are the painter Scott Burroughs and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

Was it by chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something more sinister at work? A storm of media attention brings Scott fame that quickly morphs into notoriety and accusations, and he scrambles to salvage truth from the wreckage. Amid trauma and chaos, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy grows and glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, morality, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.

Kristin Hannah raves, “Noah Hawley really knows how to keep a reader turning the pages… a complex, compulsively readable thrill ride of a novel.”

Winner of the 2017 Edgar Award for Best Novel and the 2017 International Thriller Writers Award For Best Novel

From the Award-Winning Creator of Fargo Comes “One of the Year’s Best Suspense Novels” (New York Times).

User’s Reviews

Review “This is one of the year’s best suspense novels, a mesmerizing, surprise-jammed mystery that works purely on its own, character-driven terms….Mr. Hawley has made it very, very easy to race through his book in a state of breathless suspense.”―Janet Maslin, New York Times “BEFORE THE FALL is a ravishing and riveting beauty of a thriller. It’s also a deep exploration of desire, betrayal, creation, family, fate, mortality, and rebirth. It’s one part Dennis Lehane, one part Dostoevsky. I was spellbound from first page to last; I haven’t fully recovered yet.”―Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours”Noah Hawley really knows how to keep a reader turning the pages, but there’s more to the novel than suspense. On one hand, BEFORE THE FALL is a complex, compulsively readable thrill ride of a novel. On the other hand, it is an exploration of the human condition, a meditation on the vagaries of human nature, the dark side of celebrity, the nature of art, the power of hope and the danger of an unchecked media. The combination is a potent, gritty thriller that exposes the high cost of news as entertainment and the randomness of fate.”―Kristin Hannah, New York Times Book Review”[A] terrific thriller…an irresistible mystery.. a tale that’s both an intriguing puzzle and a painful story of human loss.”―Patrick Anderson, Washington Post”Imagine that Agatha Christie had set a closed-room mystery on an airplane and included Wall Street and entertainment executive types in her lineup of suspects. Now imagine that airplane crashing into the Atlantic before the story even gets going….Mr. Hawley, the expert TV showrunner, obviously had the skills to pull this off.”―New York Times, “The Top Books of 2016″”I started and finished BEFORE THE FALL in one day. That begins to tell you what kind of smart, compellingly dramatic read it is.So read it.”―James Patterson, #1 New York Times bestselling author and winner of the National Book Foundation’s 2015 Literarian Award”A masterly blend of mystery, suspense, tragedy, and shameful media hype…a gritty tale of a man overwhelmed by unwelcome notoriety, with a stunning, thoroughly satisfying conclusion.”―Publishers Weekly (starred review)”A pulse-pounding story, grounded in humanity.”―Booklist (starred review)”BEFORE THE FALL is an astonishing, character-driven tour-de-force. The story is a multi-layered, immersive examination of truth, relationships, and our unquenchable thirst for the media’s immediate explanation of unfathomable tragedy.”―Karin Slaughter, #1 internationally bestselling author”Savvy and absorbing… cathartic…BEFORE THE FALLis about the gulf that separates perception and truth, and the people who fall into it.”―Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal”BEFORE THE FALL kicks ass. A surefire summer read.”―Justin Cronin, New York Times bestselling author of The Passage and City of Mirrors”Like the successful screenwriter that he is, Hawley piles on enough intrigues and plot complications to keep you hooked.”―Kirkus Reviews”This isn’t just a good novel; it’s a great one. I trusted no one in these pages, yet somehow cared about them all. BEFORE THE FALL brings a serrated edge to every character, every insight, and every wicked twist.”―Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The President’s Shadow”Noah Hawley soon veers his highly entertaining novel into an insightful look at families, revenge and media intrusion…Hawley invests the same care with a soupcon of dark humor into BEFORE THE FALL as he does on the TV series ‘Fargo’…superb and cleverly constructed.”―Associated Press”A riveting beach read.”―People, “The Best New Books””[A] page-turner.”―Vanity Fair”A remarkable and memorable accomplishment by any standard…BEFORE THE FALL is brilliantly constructed and wonderfully told…. a tale that will haunt you long after you read the last page, even as you wish the narrative was twice as long, for all the right reasons.”―Book Reporter”Essential reading this summer for anyone who likes a good story well told…You won’t read a more thoughtful page-turner anytime soon…irresistibly cinematic.”―St. Louis Post-Dispatch”Remarkably fun to read, filled with suspense, memorable characters and incredibly visual scenes…a compulsive experience.”―Austin American-Statesman”Compulsively written and involving, BEFORE THE FALL is a stunning inquiry into human drive and desire…A powerful and genuinely surprising work.”―The Saturday Star”Abundant chills and thrills…Noah Hawley’s novel grabs you by the throat and won’t let go…BEFORE THE FALL is storytelling at its best, as Hawley presents a range of diverse characters with rich histories… Seeds of doubt are cast in what is sure to be the summer book you won’t want to miss.”―The Missourian”In the hands of a writer like Noah Hawley, who knows how to build tension from mundane moments, it is a remarkable thriller that most readers will find difficult to put down…it moves toward a breathless ending.”―The Washington Times”A complex exploration of human nature in an age of celebrity.”―Pittsburgh Post-Gazette”Won [our] hearts and minds…it will be the big talker of the summer.”―New York Post, “Summer’s Hottest Reads””[The] thriller of the summer.”―The Baltimore Sun”The crash and the flashbacks recall Lost and Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer-winning novel, The Bridge Over San Luis Rey, and Scott’s travails are the lot of every hero in a conspiratorial thriller going back to The 39 Steps.”―Slate”BEFORE THE FALL will seize you on the first page and never let you go, as you follow the story of a plane crash and the complicated and confusing investigation about why it happened.”―Vanity Fair, “The 5 Must-Read Books for the Last Five Weeks of Summer””Fast-paced, mysterious…reads like a great episode of TV.”―The Tennessean”A riveting summer read…the author manages to draw out beauty from the heartbreak embodied within the characters. BEFORE THE FALL poses ubiquitous questions about existence, while maintaining a fast-paced, fascinating, and ultimately life-affirming plot.”―Woodbury Magazine”A captivating study of human nature.”―New Orleans Advocate”[An] intelligent and majestically paced story… Hawley has provided his fans with the ultimate irony: a best-seller that is also a Marxist critique.”―Dallas Morning News”A taut and expertly paced suspense novel. Hawley’s fifth book delivers in so many ways: a cast of well-drawn characters, feints, red herrings and dogged investigators who eventually uncover the truth…this one keeps readers guessing until the final, tragic unveiling….in nerve-racking and poignant detail.”―RealClearBooks, “This Summer’s Best Thriller””A thoughtful and compelling page-turner….Hawley’s writing is taut and clear, his characters richly developed…Readers may be moved to stand up and cheer.”―New York Journal of Books”Excellent premise and clever plotting.”―Florida Times-Union”A literary suspense novel with both a brain and a heart, Before the Fall is a searing examination of the nature of truth. With masterful character development and a well-sculpted plot line, Hawley takes us on a thrill ride of a story while raising vital questions about the role and responsibility of the media today.”―Powells, “1 of 10 books sent to President Elect Trump””A big-brained why-, how-, and whodunit.”―GQ”This fast-paced suspense novel by the creator of Fargo will keep you on the edge of your seat.”―People”Brimming with three-dimensional characters, BEFORE THE FALL leads the reader down rabbit hole after rabbit hole in an electrifying mystery.”―, “Best Novels of 2016″”Noah Hawley’s BEFORE THE FALL isn’t a typical mystery. Perhaps that’s why I couldn’t put it down.”―”Mystery, conspiracy and a plane crash on a foggy night…juicy.”―Parade Magazine”A read-in-one-beach-day kind of book…A true page-turner, BEFORE THE FALL will leave you guessing until the final moments of the crash, and the final pages of the book.”―Bustle”The story’s utterly engrossing plot that twists between past and present, ultimately heightening the mystery and suspense, is practically made for the big screen.”―Domino Magazine”The best mystery I have read this year…extremely intense…a page turner…a carefully crafted character study…[that] delivers far more than a plot driven thriller. We get an insight into the workings of the minds of all the characters, and indeed, the workings of Noah Hawley’s mind as well.”―Cyberlibrarian”[A] soapy, scary, ripped-from-the-headlines story…The answers are ultimately satisfying and heartbreaking.”―The Plain Dealer Online

Reviews from Amazon users, collected at the time the book is getting published on UniedVRG. It can be related to shiping or paper quality instead of the book content:

⭐ Let me stipulate that Before The Fall was a thoughtful and at times compelling read. The story concerns itself with the ill-fated flight of a private jet with two families aboard, along with the central character, a struggling artist, who finds his life and that of a four year old boy irrevocably altered when the jet plunges into the Long Island Sound. The narrative unfolds as a brooding meditation on fate and the finality of death amid our unforgiving celebrity media culture and the 24 hour news cycle.Just as the plane falls from the sky, this story falls from grace when the author finds himself unable to resist launching a broad, ham-fisted swipe at Fox News. Fox News and its ascendence to the top of the ratings has time and again brought out the worst in the liberal progressive intelligentsia, and Mr. Hawley proves he too suffers from FDS, Fox News derangement syndrome.The syndrome manifests itself in a number of ways in Before The Fall. The thinly veiled ALC News a stand in for Fox News channel. Shock news host Bill Cunningham an every more thinly veiled stand in for Bill O’Reilly. The author even went so far as to name Cunningham’s attorney “Franken,” a taunt at the long-running feud between O’Reilly and the one time SNL comedian Al Franken.In Hawley’s story, the Cunningham character is painted as an egotistical, manipulative and even dangerous buffoon, engaging in all manner of ethically corrupt and even illegal behavior to get at the TV host’s version of the truth. Every liberal prejudice about Fox News and every tired myth the FDS afflicted suffer from comes rushing forth. There have been great novels in our time that have dealt with our celebrity media culture. Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire Of The Vanities comes to mind. Where Wolfe paints with deft, satirical embellishments, Hawley slashes in crude cartoonish strokes.It’s sad, really, because Mr. Hawley is clearly a writer of the first rank. The Fox News angle and the O’Reilly component came off as petty and mean-spirited. As if the writer has a score to settle. But that’s what Fox News success does to liberal elites. They simply can’t help themselves.

⭐ The hype about this book leaves me scratching my head. Can’t believe it got such huge reviews when the writing is clunky and, frankly, boring.The premise is great. It could have taken off like a rocket and kept you in thrall with such a good story idea. But it doesn’t. I kept waiting to be psyched, page-turning like mad, but unfortunately, I found this way underwhelming and several chapters in began to wish I hadn’t wasted my time to start with. The cliches, the dull descriptions, the lack of character development on any truly intimate, deeper level – not there. I’ve always read books for the interesting writing as much as the story. This one lacks both. Something tells me that because this writer is associated with “Fargo,” he got green lights and nobody of any real taste in publishing read his book. They just figured “Fargo” was good, so this must be. NOT! Being a great novelist is a whole other bag than a good screenwriter. If you love good writing – or even a good yarn – don’t waste your time.

⭐ Noah Hawley’s BEFORE THE FALL has just received the Edgar award for best mystery of 2016. That is interesting, because the mystery elements are few. The book is much more of a mainstream novel than a mystery story. It has also been described as a thriller, but one of the ‘Reading Group Guide/Discussion Questions’ at the end raises a question about the ways in which the novel bends the conventions of that genre. Thrillers characteristically have a ticking clock in the background of the narrative (“Tick, tock, Clarice”) that adds urgency as well as an imminent threat or set of threats that bedevil the protagonist or main characters. BEFORE THE FALL has neither of these, really.The story: a rich family summering on Martha’s Vineyard charters a private jet to fly them to Teterboro. They are accompanied by a member of their security detail and they invite another rich couple and an artist with business to conduct in Manhattan to join them. The artist is poor compared with the mega-rich others. The plane crashes and the artist (Scott Burroughs) survives, along with the 4 year-old son of the charterers. Scott swims to Montauk in the dark in what may be shark-infested waters and saves the little boy, JJ. The novel then principally consists of the back stories of the people who drowned and about 40% of the way into the novel we begin to realize that the crash may not have been an accident. The other rich invitee aboard the plane was about to be arrested for money laundering. The charterer runs a conservative television network and may have been targeted for political reasons. His head of security is an Israeli with a complex, bloody past. The co-pilot has had some sort of relationship difficulty with the flight attendant, and so on. Hence the mystery elements—what really happened? Why did the plane crash? And the thriller element—if this was a revenge or terrorist (or some other form of) plot and the son and painter survived, perhaps they will be targeted again (except that there is no plausible reason to expect so, since the painter was invited aboard at the last minute and no long-term planner would have been expecting him to be there).There are several related plots. JJ’s aunt, who will serve as his parent now, is married to a troubled, addled writer/cook; they disagree on the uses of the considerable inheritance that the aunt will manage. The charterer’s television network includes one host who has stepped over the line and wiretapped prominent individuals. While he draws huge ratings he is a loose cannon. (Perhaps he engineered the crash, since the network chief was leaning on him?) Toward the end of the book the aunt’s husband agrees to go on the loose cannon’s show, with possible fireworks to follow. Interestingly, the loose cannon’s name is Bill Cunningham; one wonders if the conservative Cincinnati talk show host, Bill Cunningham, is offended by this.The writing is wonderful and the book examines the psychological and philosophic aspects of all of these actions, results and circumstances in depth. The artist, e.g., has recently produced some large paintings of individuals caught in unanticipated scenes of destruction. One, for example, is a portrait of a woman on a farm who does not see the tornado in the background which is coming for her. This all sparks the interests of the FBI, but the painter himself is much more fixated on the meaning of life and the manner in which violence intrudes, unexpectedly. He broods about such things, even as a mega-rich gallery owner/heiress attempts to charm him sexually. The aunt broods over questions of justice and whether or not all of the inheritance should be preserved for JJ, while she and her husband continue to live austerely.Bottom line: the entire ‘feel’ of the book is philosophic and the mystery/suspense elements are secondary or even tertiary. The book seizes your attention and will take you into the late hours, reading, but prospective readers should be aware that this is not a conventional mystery story. It is, however, a very fine novel.P.S. For admirers of the author’s wonderful series, FARGO, this book has nothing in common with the series, neither in the nature of the characters, plots and themes, nor in the narrative ‘ethos’.

⭐ I thought this was going to be a great book but was disappointed. I think the reviews had me expecting much more but after a decent start, I just couldn’t get too involved in it. It was quite flat, actually. I would like to find the reviewers who said it was the best thriller of the year. I could hardly stay awake reading it. There was no tension whatsoever. I finished it just to see what would happen but it never really lived up to expectations. Too bad because 2 of his other books were terrific but I also felt the same way about The Good Father. I only made it through a third of that book. If you can find it “The Punch is a terrific book.

⭐ Scott Burroughs is a recovering alcoholic and 40-something artist who never quite made it, whose photorealistic paintings of disasters appear to mirror the wreckage of his own life.His luck seems to be changing when he has a meeting with a gallery owner in NYC, and gets offered a seat on a private plane by a moneyed acquaintance. That changes 16 minutes into the flight from Martha’s Vineyard, when the plane crashes into the Atlantic Ocean.Injured in the crash, Scott undertakes the Herculean effort of surviving, of getting back to land, and of trying to save the life of another crash victim—a four-year-old boy—in the process.Once they make it to shore, the search for answers begins. Are there more survivors? Why did the plane crash? Was it human error? Mechanical? Or some sort of terrorist (or liberal—the boy is the son of a man who runs a news network very similar to Fox News) attack.The story is told from multiple viewpoints and from different points in time. While Scott struggles with the how and why—How did he manage to survive against the odds? Why was he “chosen” to live—Bill Cunningham, a network talking head (think Limbaugh or Hannity) begins a marathon newscast demanding answers about the probable death of his missing boss and friend, and starts suggesting conspiracy theories that Scott himself is responsible for the crash and is not the hero he is perceived to be.These story arcs are interwoven with tales of the other people on board the plane, and the author does a good job of making them seem like real people—not props. Each has a back story to tell, and each part brings us a little closer to understanding exactly what happened in those final minutes on the plane.I find that sometimes telling a story in this manner is distracting, but Hawley does an excellent job here of using it to deepen characterization while subtly ratcheting tension and moving the story forward. I spent a lot of the time not knowing what had happened or what was going on, but I was fascinated at the wry commentary on the state of our current tabloid news era, and Scott’s struggle to deal with his reality versus people’s perceptions of him.There were a few minor issues that kept this from being a 5-star read for me. One was an editing goof (using a past-tense verb when it should have been present—and yes, I am petty enough to deduct a star for that), and the other came during the denouement, which I won’t mention because it is extremely spoilery. It was, however, something I felt should have been picked up on somewhere along the line (even though doing so might have changed the story substantially). I think had the author thought this through completely, or even addressed why it was never addressed in story, this might have been 5 stars despite the editorial gaffe.4 out of 5 stars.

⭐ I enjoyed the writer’s skill in developing his characters. Flaws, humanity, dreams, all the main cast had them and they were well explored. Even read some lines a few times to let the words linger, like a fine wine. While the book was engaging it fell as flat as the airplane in the end. The ending was oh so predictable, and oh so anti- climatic. Became just another book. So glad I purchased it on a sale price, would have given it only 2 stars if I had been ripped off at a high kindle price. Like too many for profit kindle authors, this author abruptly ended the book. String readers along, then look at the clock and decide do get this published and for sale rather than spending more time developing a meaningful, fulfilling closure. No, I am not talking about happily ever after, but this one was ended almost in mid thougt with literally no thought. You are reading along and it stops, just stops. Oh I know, read between the lines, imagine your own end. No, I want a story, beginning to end. with clear direction and finality. Yet another modern day novel disappointment,

⭐ Ridiculous plot; a survivor of a plane crash is viewed as a possible suspect. How could anyone crash a plane and know they would survive, particularly after having to swim miles in the Atlantic while saving a four year old? Don’t waste your time or money on this book.

⭐ I’m giving this book 3 stars because there is promise in the writing. The story overall was a disappointment to me. Without giving anything away, when I got to the place where I knew WHY the plane crash happened I felt like, “Oh, come on. You couldn’t have done any better than that?” It wasn’t even predictable. It was just lame. For all the places Hawley could have taken us, for all the possibilities he could have spun out of the various hints he dropped, THIS is the one he picks? Honestly, I almost stopped reading while in that chapter. The only thing that kept me going was to find out what happened to Scott. I expected a lot more after reading the reviews. As I said, the writing isn’t bad, but the story isn’t well crafted. It’s like he has a bunch of parts and partly developed characters and he quickly linked them together to make a story. With a little more time, thought and agony he could have developed the characters more and linked them in a way that made the reader (me) care about them more and understand their motivations and their connections to each other.

⭐ Large pieces of this book are captivating. In a style that continues to grow in popularity, each section of the book is written from a perspective of different people, each of whom are involved in a plane crash in the book’s outset. Some of these characters have dazzlingly glamorous lives and almost all have dark secrets and histories.The main plot point of the book is: What happened? How did the plane crash? What sequence of events in one or multiple characters’ lives led to this tragedy, and was it an accident or something more sinister?It sounds promising, but the ending of the book cheapens it completely. The conclusion has absolutely nothing to do with anything you read in the first 90% of the book, and leaves you angry. It’s similar to a crime writer introducing the murderer on the last page of the book – why write a suspenseful story then?Also, the dialogue is not good. I can’t tell you how many times a character sits back to think about a pseudo-deep comment made to them. For some reason, every character has an outrageous stutter and inability to form a full sentence. It is really strange.Reading book is like riding uphill on a rollercoaster waiting for the ride to truly begin, only to get to the top of the hill and be told to disembark because the ride is over.

⭐ I often find that the scoring system is much too primitive a tool to really reflect one’s opinion about books that are not monolithic. This feeling applies very well to “Before The Fall”. As a mystery thriller, four stars are probably the best fit. The required compulsive page-turning is there, the overall rythm is there, the suspense is there. Why only four stars? Because it has three main faults: 1. The solution is mundane and unlikely. Although the author tries to paint the psych portrait of the perp in colors that proclaim “villlain”, in my mind they do not jell; 2. The book is not a straight thriller but attempts to be more, at least a psychological thriller, maybe even a suspensful psychological novel. The writing, hoever, does not graduate to this category. The book uses the micro-biography blurb technique (Mailer in “The Naked And The Dead”) to paint an abbreviated psych portrait of the protagonists, Mr. Hawley ain’t Mailer yet and the personae come out flat, two-dimensional; 3. The real hero of the book should have been Gus, who is the one that has to solve the mystery, while Scott is a secondary actor whose role in the solution is non-existenet. However Scott has been chosen by the author as the her and, consequently, the book ceases to be a simple thriller and becomes a psych novel, albeit faulty – at most three stars. All said, four hours of very good entertainment


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