Survival, at its basest form, isn’t a story. Or, I don’t know, maybe it’s the only story.
Before the Fall is a quite ordinary story told extraordinarily. A private jet plane falls into the ocean, killing all aboard except for one man and a small boy who this man saves, swimming an almost impossible distance to shore.
That’s the idea behind the book.
What Hawley does is go back into these characters lives, exploring the details of conspiracies and relationships all in an effort to solve the reason this plane went down, while concurrently keeping the story moving forward with those who have survived and the aftermath of the crash. But it’s the characters that really drive this story, and this is where Hawley shines.
Each character’s backstory is so fully created that you feel as if this novel was ripped from the headlines rather than a novel. And as you begin to see the characters for who they really are, you’re both emotionally attached but also thrown into the conflict, knowing the outcome. It’s quite an amazing feat to create a story like this where the main event occurs in the first 10% of the story, and yet the suspense and intrigue never lets up. Sort of like watching Titanic backwards but with a much better script.
The final reveal of the ending was a little bit of a let-down, however, without going into spoiler details, served the story well. By far one of the most memorable reads of my year. For those who enjoy character driven stories and eloquent prose, this is a must-read.
** I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This is no way is reflected in my review. **