[Book Review] “Before the Fall” (Noah Hawley) – So Much more than Survival!

Author: Noah Hawley

Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Drama

Year of Publication: 2016

ISBN: 1455561789 (ISBN13: 9781455561780)

Pages: 391


A private jet takes with 11 people on-board, takes off for a simple flight of not more than 45 minutes. But all it manages to fly is for 16 minutes, after which it crashes into the abysmal depths of the ocean. The plane had 2 billionaire families on-board; a media tycoon with his wife and two kids and a financial market wizard with his wife. There was also a last minute inclusion in the list of passengers; a “nothing” painter who had a history of tragedy and darkness.

The crash buried all the passengers in the dark waters, apart from the painter and the 4-year-old son of the media tycoon. The painter saves the kid and becomes a hero. But just when the survivors of the crash start believing that the crisis is over…just then…the media goes crazy with theories of a serious conspiracy. Was it a simple crash or was there a human motive involved? What did the high-profiled investigation of the crash reveal? What changes awaited the survivors of the crash. These are the question answered through a highly engaging narrative of this book.

“There are things in this world that no human being should be able to endure. We should die of heartbreak, but we do not. Instead, we are forced to survive, to bear witness.” – Noah Hawler (quoted from the book “Before the Fall”)

Our Rating



Ardent bookworms might agree that the best thing about reading books is the ever-looming possibility of a surprise that comes along with every next book you decide to read. That the surprise ends up being pleasant or not is another issue…but this inability to foresee the experience of reading a particular book is what keeps freaks like us looking forward to accept reading challenges and to proactively creating additional space in our shelves for the books that would grace them in near future.

The book was expected to be nothing more than a decent space-filler… but it proved to so much more than that!

For me Before the Fall by Noah Hawley was always supposed to be just another space-filler that I picked up for a quick finish before in get into a huge 1500 pager I had waiting in my shelf to be started. But am I glad of coming across this book or not!!! Such a pleasantly surprising experience of a book which was perceived to be yet another surviving-through-a-disaster-with-exaggerated-drama . But what I got in the end was a uniquely crafted tale about The Venomous Media and its ability to inflate a simple incident into a horrific conspiracy theory.

This is a book which unfolds layer-after-layer with such smooth transitioning that you don’t even feel the panic you normally feel when a new mystery is about to be unveiled in a thriller. What you actually feel is acquaintanceship of so many brilliantly detailed characters which take you along their lives (pre and post the main event) and in the process take you down the dense waves of the ocean they crashed in … and eventually guide you to the treasure of complete understanding and knowledge of what transpired on that ill-fated August night.

The detailed characters and the mellow flow of the narrative make it such a unique reading experience; nothing like the thrillers we have read before

The beauty of Noah’s writing lies in the subtlety of drama and his ability to downplay the emotions which could’ve crashed the ceiling down on the reader’s head. As a result, you don’t get buried under the heaviness of grief … nor do you feel aloof about what happens in the lives of these characters. Instead, the author makes you understand the characters and their experiences in life..he paints each scene with such details that you cannot help but visualize the proceedings. As a result…you get totally convinced about what you read and what you come to know.

The only link which is comparatively weak, is the ending…but that too feels like this because the flow of narrative had started unveiling things quite early…It tell you the conclusion before it gets concluded and then it leaves you having optimistic visions about the survivors of the plane crash (but more importantly the survivors of the media madness).

Final Word

To sum it up … this was a beautiful little book … which deserves to be applauded for its uniqueness of approach and its ability to satisfy your need of reading a quality book.




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