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review 2018-06-16 01:49
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley

Several colleagues and I started an IRL book club at work four months ago.  We met at lunchtime on Thursday to discuss Before the Fall.  Marketed as a thriller with the hook “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.” The book follows Scott in the days immediately following the crash with flashbacks to the lives of the now-deceased passengers and crew.

 

Surprisingly, our opinion of the book was unanimous.  Pretty much everybody was intrigued by the concept of the book and hated the execution. The general feeling was that Before the Fall wasn’t suspenseful enough for the thriller designation and that the story stopped living up to the promise of the opening sequence as soon as Scott left the hospital.

 

As one of my colleagues said, this book is awash in red herrings, but rather than them being fat meaty fish that we could believe in, there’s this swarm of pink minnows darting around pallid characters. 

 

While you can’t really say anything about how the book ends, or “whodunit” without spoilers, we were dissatisfied with how the book ended and had some significant questions about the timing of certain things.

 

As an aside, while the consensus is that we are unlikely to read anything else by Mr. Hawley, we wish that Gil the security guard had survived the crash so that he could be the protagonist of his own book.

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text 2018-04-13 21:41
Reading progress update: I've listened 100 out of 400 minutes.
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley

Seeing as my eye-strain headache is back and I had the audio-version of this, I started it today. It's about a group of very rich individuals and a struggling painter who travel on a private jet together. The plane crashes and the painter and the son of one of the rich are the only one's who survive. The story leans towards issues of inequality, apparently and as I'm very interested in that, I've been eager to get to it for a while. 

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review 2017-09-10 00:00
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Robert Petkoff,Noah Hawley imageAudibleheadphones_icon_1

A very well written thriller that made a thrilling audio book with an excellent performance of [a:Robert Petkoff|2889695|Robert Petkoff|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/m_50x66-82093808bca726cb3249a493fbd3bd0f.png].

A plane crash. Two survivors. A four year old boy and an unknown painter who swam 8 hours in the cold Atlantic at night with a boy on his back.

Is he a hero or the reason for this crash?

How did he get on the board of the private jet with two of the most richest and powerful people of the USA? Why his name is not on the boarding list? Does he tell the truth? And what happened on the board of the machine?

Aside from the investigation and a less spectacular outcome - too fresh the memories of the Germanwings Flight 9525, google if you don't remember- the book delivers a very important massage, IMO:

Journalism was meant to be objective reporting of facts; no matter how contradictory. You didn't make the news fit the story. You simply reported the facts as they were.When hat that stopped being true?


...
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review 2017-09-06 00:00
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley 3.5 stars rounded up

Everyone in my book club enjoyed this one. It starts off with a plane crash and the immediate aftermath. It then delves into the lives of those on the plane, chapter by chapter, as the various agencies are investigating why the plane went down. As it unfolds, suspects are eliminated and everyone gets a bit closer to the truth.

Beneath it all, our hero is just trying to get back to life without becoming caught up in the media storm, all spurred on by one slimy reporter from one of those 24 hour news stations.

There were areas where it was a bit wordy but overall an enjoyable mystery laced with plenty of social commentary on the state of news media today. I could definitely see this play out as a limited run TV show.
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review 2017-03-29 05:15
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley

This book was positioned as a thriller, but it didn’t really fit into that genre for me. While it seemed a bit “ripped from the headlines”, it was written with an intelligence that belied the occasional celebrity tell-all feel. To me, it was more intriguing than gripping, but while the conclusion seemed inevitable and unsurprising, this did not really detract from the story. Hawley is terrific at crafting his wealthy characters, but I found the ordinary, flawed ones more interesting. I especially appreciated that the artist living on Martha’s Vineyard is poor and relatively unknown despite living in what would normally be considered a high-end vacation spot. Hawley is deft at contrasting the flashy tabloid news with the human side of the story, and I found just as many parts deeply moving as completely despicable.

 

One reviewer ranted on and on about how bad this cover is – but as a graphic designer (who frequently judges a book by its cover), I am weighing in on this one. I was attracted to the type that was at once bold and ethereal; accurately, I think, evoking the tragedy and uncertainty to come.

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