Before the Fall – Noah Hawley

Rating: 4/10

This novel follows the events leading up to and after a private jet owned by a multi-millionaire crashes into the ocean, all but two passengers survive – the son of the millionaire and a painter who shouldn’t have even been on the plane in the first place.

The storyline follows Scott Burroughs, a washed-up painter who has never succeeded with his artwork, but is suddenly thrust into the limelight when he survives a plane crash alongside the four year old son of a millionaire. The novel explores and criticises mainly the role of the media at times of disaster and the immediate assumptions and so called ‘trial by media’ that occur in the wake of such events.

Although I was hooked by the concept of the book, I found it much more a criticism of conventional Western society than what I assumed it would focus upon – the mystery of an unexplained plane crash. The book hints at a lot of different themes throughout such as corruption, adultery and kidnap but I felt rather than providing the reader with the detail that they desired around certain themes, it fell short of fulfilling any questions or suspicions that the reader may have.

This book was kindly sent to me by the publisher last year but due to my exams I have had it on hold for months and only just been able to finish it. My initial impression of the book when I started it was very good, I really enjoyed the idea of the storyline and how the narrative flicked between the past, present and different character perspectives. However, as the book progressed I found it very difficult to keep track of the different characters and the timeline of events due to the layout of the book. This affected my interest in the novel because I felt as if it was a lot of effort to read rather than being easy to follow and digest. I also found myself skipping chunks of text due to my almost loss of interest I felt due to sometimes irrelevant detail around minor characters.

Overall I wouldn’t recommend this book to you guys, as I really felt that it was unfulfilling and left me with so many unanswered questions. When I finished the book I was angry and disappointed at the lack of imagination and almost rushed ending that I was provided with, and felt more annoyed about the book than I was impressed by it.

As always, I encourage my readers to try out books for themselves before settling on judgement, but for me this book was definitely not my cup of tea so scored a 4/10!

Dutch Design Heroes: Ben Bos, by Graham Sturt, Medium, June 27, 2017

(image: AGI : Graphic Design Since 1950, Edited by Ben & Elly Bos, Thames & Hudson, London, 2007)