Book Chat’s Rating: ∗∗∗*/5
After a year of reading hiatus, I needed something to get me back into reading. Before the Fall was a book like that. The book has won the Edgar Award for Best Novel, so I figured it wouldn’t be so bad. Indeed, the book started out very good. The story built on a premise of plane crash, two survivors, a man and a child. Among the victims are the Wall Street elite and media mogul. Was it by chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something more sinister at work?
For once I was not annoyed by the narrative style with multiple characters. I applaud Noah Hawley for that. Many other readers commented that this writing style reminded them of watching a TV show, when the screen jumps from character to character. Noah Hawley writes for TV, so this makes more sense how he is quite successful with this style. Each and every character is interesting in their own way, well, except for the loser money-hungry Doug, I guess. I was glad Hawley didn’t turn this story into a fight over the inheritance, not that anyone but the child was entitled to it, but I’m also tired of hearing/reading about entitled people.
The hero who saved the child, Scott Burrough, is likable enough. However, his story wasn’t all that interesting, compared to other characters. I thought he was a bit younger, but he was in his 50s. Toward the end when all the suspicion building up toward Scott, he just doesn’t seem like the type of person to pull such a stunt. It did well portraying the bullshit in the media interview style like Bill O’Reilly, ha, the jackass media guy here was also named Bill, coincidental? I think not. Although I was sure it wasn’t Scott, I guess I didn’t see who did it either. Which I would give Hawley the credit for a twisted plot, but it is also why I thought the ending was a little absurd. Had Hawley spent more time deepening the relationship between Scott and the boy, the story may have been more poignant. But with all the suspense build up, it went a little flat for me.
I did enjoy some brief moments when Hawley went into different career aspect, as well as some of the forensic analysis on plane crash mechanism. Very brief moments though, most of the time is spend on telling story how the riches spend their money. I could care less for those rich people’s problems, except for when he told stories about JJ and Rachel. Any tragedy involving children is hard to bear. There are some light humor too, I particularly enjoy the part with the lawyer and FBI talk, but it was not enough to lighten the book.
Overall, I think the book is a solid 3.5 stars. I listened to it and now that I think more about it, the voice actor does sound like he’s reporting a news. I didn’t really like his narration, but it seems fitting.
Photo Credit: Realizing Grace’s Blog