Book review: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

I bought this thinking it was something else and read it anyway and I’m really glad I did. the storytelling was enchanting, despite the grisly subject matter, and I really enjoyed the examination of human nature at it’s best and worst.

It’s the story of Scott and it’s the story of JJ, who are thrown together in terrible circumstances. Around these two stories is built an incredibly rich world filled with well developed voices. You can hear Hawley clearly through the text, but there are subtle things that show that each segment is a story with a particular character. I really enjoy this style of writing, especially when it leaves you wanting more (and this book does).

There were slow parts and the lightly touched on political intrigue bored me shitless, as did the shock jock parts, but this is a quiet book that meanders on under suddenly you realise you can’t read fast enough because you MUST find out what happens, but at the same time you want the stories to go on developing forever.

But they can’t (mostly because – spoiler alert – nearly every character is dead), and that’s the tragedy that hits home. Most of these characters you are discovering have just had their lives cut dramatically short – there literally is no more story to tell. And at the end, when the reasoning behind the accident is shown, you realise exactly how callous and how tragic the book is.

I really liked how well developed the characters were – it was a nice and believable look into how the other 1% live – and I enjoyed the story, also totally believable. If the book is slow in parts and excruciating in others, that’s because it’s an accurate representation of life in general.

3/5 stars

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