Before the Fall

Before the Fall

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 power...

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Title:Before the Fall
Author:Noah Hawley
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Before the Fall Reviews

  • Elyse

    UPDATE.........

    On sale today for $3.99 (Kindle special)...........I'm jealous! lol.... I paid full price! The movie rights have been signed. So---if you have been considering this book --the price is good at the moment.

    I'm sure the price will go back up again just before the movie comes out. (we are on to you, Amazon)...ha!

    "No French philosopher living or dead could convince Jack LaLanne that the

    problem of man were existential. It was a matter of will, of perseverance, of mind over

    matter. Wher

    UPDATE.........

    On sale today for $3.99 (Kindle special)...........I'm jealous! lol.... I paid full price! The movie rights have been signed. So---if you have been considering this book --the price is good at the moment.

    I'm sure the price will go back up again just before the movie comes out. (we are on to you, Amazon)...ha!

    "No French philosopher living or dead could convince Jack LaLanne that the

    problem of man were existential. It was a matter of will, of perseverance, of mind over

    matter. Where Sartre saw ennui, Jack saw energy. Where Camus saw pointlessness and death, Jack saw the board-breaking power of repetition".

    "Jack rose to power in an era of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, the age of John Wayne. America was the go-getter nation, as far as he was concerned. There was no challenge too great, no obstacle too big".

    "Jack told us that America was the nation of the future, that we were all on the verge of traveling to a science-fiction nirvana in gleaming rocket ships.

    "Except, as far as Jack was concerned, we should be running there".

    Scott Burrough's was fascinated with Jack LaLanne. While on a family vacation in San Francisco... (Scott was only 6 years old).....he watched Jack LaLanne swim in 50 degrees water with a thousand pound boat chained to his waist. Scott watched him swim for 2 miles fighting the currents of the ocean.

    "What was his fascination with the King of Exercise, if not a fascination with the power of the human spirit?" The only other history Scott knew about Jack LaLanne's personal love life was that he had a wife. What more did anyone need to know about this inspiring man?

    Think about famous people today who read articles about themselves which are completely manufactured and simply not true. It can begin to poison their self image. Journalism is meant to be objective reporting of facts, no matter how contradictory. You don't make the news fit the story -- At least there was once a time this was true.

    Reading "Before the Fall", I started to wonder 'when' ( what years?), did the integrity in journalism take a turn? This is a fiction story --- yet the author gets so much right about the creation of fabrication in journalism.

    "Reinvention used to be a tool of the artist..... to take reality and repurpose it, bend it to an idea.... It was the kingdom of make-believe. A useful tool for the artist...a dangerous tool for the journalist.

    "A private plane crashes. A man and boy survive"

    "Information versus entertainment"

    The reader will be both informed - ( insightfully so) and entertained ( enthralled with your blood pumping fast)

    The construction of the storytelling is brilliant - scintillating!!!!

    I seriously could not turn the pages fast enough!!!!!

    Blockbuster Summer Reader Home Run Hit!!!!!!

    **A special thanks to my friends for not telling me anything before I had a chance to read this myself! ( now I'll go read your reviews...'with pleasure')

  • Maggie Stiefvater

    It's difficult for me to recommend thrillers to non-thriller readers. I grew up reading them and so have a high tolerance for the genre conventions. You know, men named Jack or Tom who will later be played by Denzel Washington or Liam Neeson. Shadowy figures from whichever country your grandpa thinks is sketchy. We need YOU, civilian man with no training, to help us with this investigation, or it will all fall apart. Machine guns referred to by brand, in case you were in the market yourself. A c

    It's difficult for me to recommend thrillers to non-thriller readers. I grew up reading them and so have a high tolerance for the genre conventions. You know, men named Jack or Tom who will later be played by Denzel Washington or Liam Neeson. Shadowy figures from whichever country your grandpa thinks is sketchy. We need YOU, civilian man with no training, to help us with this investigation, or it will all fall apart. Machine guns referred to by brand, in case you were in the market yourself. A certain number of fridged relatives in order to grease the emotional gears of the plot machinations. Titles like DOUBLE-CROSSED and DON'T LOOK BACK and MAN ON THE RUN and TRIGGER HAPPY.

    Look, I know.

    But I think BEFORE THE FALL is a mystery/thriller I can recommend to non-thriller readers. "This," I will tell them, "is a thriller!" Actually I will mean, "This is what I always want thrillers to be."

    The hook is simple: a small plane crashes with two fancy business moguls on it. Also in attendance are their families and a down-on-his-luck painter. Only the painter and a four-year-old boy survive. The narrative winds back and surges forward in order to examine the events leading up to the crash and the consequences after.

    It's fast-paced and tightly plotted, which is always on the menu of Genre Thriller Cafe. But BEFORE THE FALL also has a playful turn of the phrase, a decidedly character-driven story, and something to say about the media. It means that while you're devouring this particular menu item, you'll find that you might have to stop to chew, a welcome request in a genre that in both print and film has been overflowing with lump-free puddings since the 80s. I'll be putting this one on the plates of both my thriller-loving friends and those who normally stick with more literary fare.

  • Linda

    I received a copy of Before the Fall by Noah Hawley through NetGalley. My thanks to Grand Central Publishing and to Noah Hawley for the opportunity.

    "Everyone is from someplace. We all have stories, our lives unfolding along crooked lines, colliding in unexpected ways."

    When a private jet goes down into the vastness of the ocean on its way to New York, eleven people are caught up in the buzzing headlines of that ill-fated day. Neither fame nor plush leather seats could buy you another day in this

    I received a copy of Before the Fall by Noah Hawley through NetGalley. My thanks to Grand Central Publishing and to Noah Hawley for the opportunity.

    "Everyone is from someplace. We all have stories, our lives unfolding along crooked lines, colliding in unexpected ways."

    When a private jet goes down into the vastness of the ocean on its way to New York, eleven people are caught up in the buzzing headlines of that ill-fated day. Neither fame nor plush leather seats could buy you another day in this wordly paradise. Two unexpected survivors manage to chisel out headlines of their own: one wandering artist with a low-registering pulse in the art field and a tiny four year old boy.

    Noah Hawley breaks through those tall letters printed as headlines. You and I experience them on a daily basis....just yesterday in Turkey and recently in Orlando. We place value upon statistics and brief snippets of information in sound bites. We lock down emotions. Dare we associate a phantom face with the intensity of the revealed name and identity of the victims that we encounter in print?

    And that is what Hawley attempts to do here. And this is where our reverence for this novel may go in the crossroads of divided directions. Hawley dismantles the scene of this horrific plane crash, a maudlin mosaic of jagged steel and broken glass, to reveal the backstory of each of his characters. It's episode upon episode of revealing steps that brought each individual to that time and to that place.

    Hawley's artist character, Scott Burroughs, can be labeled as Everyman or No Man as he literally crawls out of the wreckage of the aftermath of the crash and of its impact on his life. Hawley gives you a front row seat as the Media bangs the drum for him as a hero initially and then....

    I enjoyed Before the Fall. I found it to be more of an open terrain revealing the choices that we make in life and the impact, privately and publicly, on friend, family, and stranger alike. I wouldn't be surprised if this one is picked up as a TV series due to the writing talent of Hawley. Hawley lifts the veil draped upon and surrounding "the breaking news"......something we desire to know or something best kept hidden?

  • Kemper

    The main reason I wanted to read this is because I’m such a huge fan of the TV show

    . Noah Hawley is the main producer and writer responsible for transforming the great Coen brothers’ movie into something that has risen to the top of my viewing list even during this Golden Age of Television which has filled so many DVRs. If you haven’t seen it yet then watch it right now. Go on. We’ll wait. It’s only two seasons of ten episodes each so it won’t take you that long. Then you’ll be ready to pr

    The main reason I wanted to read this is because I’m such a huge fan of the TV show

    . Noah Hawley is the main producer and writer responsible for transforming the great Coen brothers’ movie into something that has risen to the top of my viewing list even during this Golden Age of Television which has filled so many DVRs. If you haven’t seen it yet then watch it right now. Go on. We’ll wait. It’s only two seasons of ten episodes each so it won’t take you that long. Then you’ll be ready to properly appreciate Hawley’s talents. All done? Good. Let’s talk about the book then.

    A private plane carrying eleven people crashes in the ocean shortly after takeoff from Martha’s Vineyard. A middle-aged painter named Scott Burroughs survives the impact and saves both himself and a small boy by making a miraculous swim to shore. Scott is at first hailed as a hero, but he wants only to be left alone. Since the plane was also carrying a media tycoon who ran a cable news network and a wealthy financial advisor who was about to be indicted for shady dealings there are a lot of questions about why it crashed. An opinionated bully of a political commentator from the news network uses his show to spin wild conspiracy theories as well as inciting a witch hunt against Scott for having the unmitigated gall to survive while rich and important people died.

    There’s two parallel stories going on here. The first is a

    kind of thing where we follow the lives of the people on the plane as well as others impacted by the crash. The second involves Scott trying to cope with the crash and its aftermath. There’s also a mystery lurking in the background of what ultimately did happen on board the jet.

    A lot of the history and reflections of the characters have to do with wealth. As a person who wasn’t rich and was essentially just hitching a ride because of a chance encounter there’s an interesting dynamic in that Scott was in this bubble of privilege for only moments before being thrown out of it violently. His lack of money and yet being with people who had it in that moment where their bank accounts couldn’t save them is seen as suspicious. The lingering presence of wealth hangs over the backgrounds and actions of the other characters, too. Everyone has to come to terms in some way with how money -

    money – is what makes the world go round. Here’s a bit I particularly liked:

    .

    I wasn’t entirely happy with the ending which seemed rushed and as if it was kind of what Hawley wished could happen in this situation rather than what actually would. Still, this was a very well written story with many profound bits of wisdom about life, death, art, money, media, and air travel gone wrong. It’s the same kind of story telling skill he’s shown himself to be a master of on

    .

    (I received a free copy of this from NetGalley for review.)

  • Diane S ☔

    A plane crash, eleven on board, only two survive, Scott a painter with a troubled past and the young boy, J.J. that he manages to save. Like when the Malaysia aircraft went down, there is speculation about why, who. Controversial figures were onboard this plane, could they have been targeted? Is Scott a hero or villain? Either way he has lost his right to privacy.

    Not an edge of your seat page turner but rather a behind the scenes look at the talking heads we see on our television screen after ev

    A plane crash, eleven on board, only two survive, Scott a painter with a troubled past and the young boy, J.J. that he manages to save. Like when the Malaysia aircraft went down, there is speculation about why, who. Controversial figures were onboard this plane, could they have been targeted? Is Scott a hero or villain? Either way he has lost his right to privacy.

    Not an edge of your seat page turner but rather a behind the scenes look at the talking heads we see on our television screen after every disaster, the role of the media in inflating outrage and conspiracies. A look at the lives of each of those who were on the plane. The involvement of all the government agencies, search for the debris field, the bodies and the black boxes. Really an in depth look at what goes on after a disaster, very well done. just loved the character of Scott, who tries to put his future in perspective, after the glare of suspicion falls on him.. Jack Lalane plays a small part, he of the fitness craze of years ago and the man who was unknowingly the motivator for Scott's swimming ability.

    This book is very well written, constructed well, and holds a fascination for all those who want to know what goes on beyond the public's knowledge. What happens to those who survive a disaster of this magnitude, how it is to be the last man standing. Enjoyed the slow unraveling where at the end we finally find out exactly what happened.

    ARC from Netgalley.

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    I've read some pretty great books this year; so far I've been able to track a total of 107 since January 1st. A few have been total duds, most have been an enjoyable read but utterly forgettable; however, there have been a select few that I have read in 2016 that I would place in a special bracket-memorable, enjoyable, unique and of the highest recommendation. Before The Fall was one of those books. I'll be thinking about this one for months to come; there is something really intriguing about re

    I've read some pretty great books this year; so far I've been able to track a total of 107 since January 1st. A few have been total duds, most have been an enjoyable read but utterly forgettable; however, there have been a select few that I have read in 2016 that I would place in a special bracket-memorable, enjoyable, unique and of the highest recommendation. Before The Fall was one of those books. I'll be thinking about this one for months to come; there is something really intriguing about reading a novel written by someone who typically writes screenplays.

    I'll start by saying the careful, articulate crafting of this tale is exquisite. I couldn't get enough of the way the story unfolded; it truly felt as though I was watching a movie in my mind from the way it was told. We begin and end with the same part of the story; the beginning told from one POV and the end told from another. There are many sections told from Scott's POV in the present, but also chunks of stories that read as a dossier on the deceased from the plane crash to help us begin to piece together the truth. This truly made me feel a part of the mystery and kept the pages flying by.

    I loved that this was more than just a surface level mystery relying on cheap thrills to get me by. There were so many deeper aspects to this story, and this is what made it memorable to me. Yes, the mystery of the crash and the unveiling of each character's background kept me hooked, but I was also as connected to Scott and JJ's journey; here are two people who survived the odds and have to deal with the trauma of survivors guilt and PTSD while being a part of one of the most prestigious investigations of their (fictional) time. There are so many intricate details, from the Jack Lalanne background to the details involving investigative procedures differing between various forms of law enforcement and military, I could feel an extra level of depth to this story than if the author had chosen to just keep everything focused on a surface level. Every single chapter seemed to tie in together to make one beautiful web of a hauntingly brilliant story.

    My only (minor) drawback was the ending. It's a perfectly good ending, don't get me wrong. No spoilers here, but I had been expecting it to go in a different direction, and for hundreds of pages we are building up to this massive conclusion and it just seemed a little anticlimactic for me. I understand why the author did it, and the longer I've sat on it, the more its grown on me. Who knows; maybe one day, once the shock has worn off, I'll embrace it more heartily. Even with the ending as it is, this is a fantastic book that is well written with developed characters and nail-biting suspense to keep you from doing the dishes and laundry for two days (not that I know that from personal experience...). Highly recommended to just about anyone, as I feel it has something to offer almost anyone!

  • Justin

    First, let's talk about the cover of Before the Fall because this has to go down as one of the worst book covers of 2016, maybe the decade, maybe of all time. I checked this book out three times from the library and the first two times I couldn't even bring myself to read it. I would pick it up, look at that bland, lifeless cover with big, stupid letters and oh boy check it out the word "fall" looks like it's actually falling and the whole thing really just looks like a giant letter T and the co

    First, let's talk about the cover of Before the Fall because this has to go down as one of the worst book covers of 2016, maybe the decade, maybe of all time. I checked this book out three times from the library and the first two times I couldn't even bring myself to read it. I would pick it up, look at that bland, lifeless cover with big, stupid letters and oh boy check it out the word "fall" looks like it's actually falling and the whole thing really just looks like a giant letter T and the colors are so uninviting anyway.

    So yeah... I judged a book by its cover. And I was wrong. That old saying really is true and I'll be damned if this book isn't the best example of not judging a book by its cover I've ever seen. And I'm sorry that so much of my review has focused on something so insignificant, and I'm gonna talk about the book at some point, but I had to get that out. Thanks for indulging me if you made it this far. I'm sorry.

    Let's discuss the inside of the book. The stuff that actually matters, like the words and stuff, chapters and whatnot. The characters and the story and the mystery and suspense. Oh boy!

    Here's how I can break it down for you. Noah Hawley is the writer and producer of the amazing FX television series, Fargo. Definitely do yourself a favor and watch that show if you haven't already. I don't watch a ton of TV, and I'm not just saying that because I'm on a book website trying to be all like oh yeah TV hahaha I'd rather be reading obviously. I'm saying that because I have limited time for books and TV in general, and Fargo is worth the time. If you haven't seen the movie then, gee whiz, you have to do that immediately. Stop living under a rock, man.

    OK so I did all that to say this... reading Before the Fall is like watching a season of an amazing TV show. The beginning of the book was like watching a pilot episode where a plane with a bunch of Donald Trump level rich people crashes and it's super intense and,man, we just gotta find out what the heck happens and there is this crazy story of survival. It's super fast-paced and I felt like the book was gonna push down the gas pedal and never let off.

    But then you get to episode two and things feel a little different. The mystery is still there, but now we are slowing things down a bit and developing the characters. Each episode kinda starts to focus on a different person from the crash. Then it goes to a deeper level and starts examining the impact the media has on spinning news stories out of control. It hits on what it means to be a "hero" and trying to live a normal, private life again. I mean honestly when I got to the end it didn't feel like the mystery was all that important anymore and not all that shocking and there wasn't this like oh my God huge plot twist moment. And that's why it felt like a good TV show with good writing. I cared about the characters. I cared about what happened. It was giving me something deeper than an episode of Law and Order. It kept me invested without having to keep shocking me or revealing something I never saw coming.

    There's really just a lot more than a plane crash mystery suspense thriller going on here. It's a very memorable book that will stick with me for a bit. I didn't expect much from it, and I was pleasantly surprised and completely sold after just a few chapters. I guess what I'm saying is you really can't judge a book by its cover, and I'm glad I decided to give this one a shot because it was well worth it.

    Read Before the Fall, watch Fargo the TV series, and watch the movie if you haven't seen it yet for crying out loud.

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    A small private jet is leaving Martha's Vineyards, on it is one of the richest guys in politics (I never figured out what he really did) and his wife and two small children. Also included are another rich guy who has been doing some shady business deals and his wife, a poor painter that rich guy number one's wife be-friended and offered a ride and the crew and bodyguards. Sixteen minutes after the plane takes off it crashes.

    There is only two survivors, the painter, Scott and the young boy. He sw

    A small private jet is leaving Martha's Vineyards, on it is one of the richest guys in politics (I never figured out what he really did) and his wife and two small children. Also included are another rich guy who has been doing some shady business deals and his wife, a poor painter that rich guy number one's wife be-friended and offered a ride and the crew and bodyguards. Sixteen minutes after the plane takes off it crashes.

    There is only two survivors, the painter, Scott and the young boy. He swims an unheard of amount of ocean with a dislocated shoulder. How? When he was younger he saw Jack Lalanne swim from Alcatraz tugging a boat. That feat made him join the swim team. He is out of shape but that training stayed with him.

    After they are rescued the media starts their bull. The FBI and everybody and their mama's are questioning what brought the plane down? Was it terrorist? Was it a bomb? Was it pilot error? Then the turn the blame on Scott the painter. He had to be having an affair with the woman. How did he survive?

    One of the main blabber mouths that is stirring the pot worked for rich guy number one. He is a controversial talk show host. (asshole)

    He was about to get his bum fired right before the plane went down but now he is the biggest champion of finding out 'what really happened.' If it boosts his ratings all the better.

    The book takes you back to before the crash and you get points of view from most of the passengers. (The author does a good job of this.)

    Scott really tries to hide from the media attention. He wants none of it. He worries about he boy and the fact that the kid is now an orphan. The media attention is spot on in this book. The differences in which our media acts now compared to a few short years ago when they just told the facts is over. Now it has to be sensational or they will make it so.

    This is a decent book. The only gripe I can find with it is that it is so talky talky..I got bored in spots. I've seen some reviewers that didn't care for the ending..but to me it was perfect. It's amazing that something so base and human can cause a storm for so many people.

    I'm going with highlighting my friend

    on this one. The stars from my friends are all over the place on this one..so you may have to decide for yourself.

  • Zoeytron

    A copy of this was furnished to me by Net Galley in exchange for a review.

    This is a story of the crash of a private airplane into the ocean, the two who survived, and the ones who did not. More mystery than thriller, it focuses on what brought down the plane, the arrogance of money, and the sleazy journalism tactics employed while reporting the story.

    Remember when the news on television really was news, with stories confirmed by more than one source and reported in a professional manner? It se

    A copy of this was furnished to me by Net Galley in exchange for a review.

    This is a story of the crash of a private airplane into the ocean, the two who survived, and the ones who did not. More mystery than thriller, it focuses on what brought down the plane, the arrogance of money, and the sleazy journalism tactics employed while reporting the story.

    Remember when the news on television really was news, with stories confirmed by more than one source and reported in a professional manner? It seems the media has turned into a people eater. Throw out the suggestion of something sordid or even the most remote chance of wrongdoing, and watch the piranha-like audience swarm. Chewed up, spat out, and then on to the next unfortunate victim or hero, without a thought of anything except what will play best to the audience. Scare the old folks, titillate the not-so-old, make everyone feel superior to the poor slob whose life has been made newsworthy. And yes-siree bob, they will tune in the next time for more. They deserve to know the "truth", by the gods!

    The chapter that began with the words

    made me grin. I can't imagine this was unintentional on the author's part. Just think of the poor guy casting his good eye about looking for a likely looking spot to sink his line . . . only to pull in a walleye. It didn't have anything to do with the story, but it tickled my funny bone.

    I'm destined to be the odd man out here. I liked it, but didn't love it. It didn't call my name when I wasn't reading, and took an inordinately long time for me to get it read.

  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    There were a lot of things I didn't like about this book. It d....r......a.....g.....g.....e.......d. The author postured and pontificated. Take the ordinary household toaster......there is a lengthy passage covering what the household toaster means to different people - to the engineer, to the cook, to itself. I mean really? It brought nothing to the book (except, in my case, dissatisfaction), and there was a great deal of this type of writing.

    I found myself mid-chapter wandering off to read th

    There were a lot of things I didn't like about this book. It d....r......a.....g.....g.....e.......d. The author postured and pontificated. Take the ordinary household toaster......there is a lengthy passage covering what the household toaster means to different people - to the engineer, to the cook, to itself. I mean really? It brought nothing to the book (except, in my case, dissatisfaction), and there was a great deal of this type of writing.

    I found myself mid-chapter wandering off to read the paper, do crosswords/Sudoku and to pop a few pieces into the current jigsaw.

    However, when the story is actually being told, without all these useless detours up side roads, it is a good story. A great pity the author didn't stick to it.

    Thank you to NetGalley and publisher Hachette Australia and Hodder & Stoughton for a digital ARC of Before the Fall by Noah Hawley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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