Title: The Beauty of the Fall: A Novel
Author: Rich Marcello
Genre: Literary Fiction, Fiction
A TECHNOLOGY EXECUTIVE CHARTS A HIGH-RISK, UNCONVENTIONAL PATH WHILE GRIEVING THE LOSS OF HIS SON
Dan Underlight, a divorced, workaholic technology executive, suffers lingering grief over the death of his ten-year-old son, Zack. When Dan's longtime friend and boss fires Dan from RadioRadio, the company that he helped create, he crashes and isolates himself.
Willow, a poet and domestic violence survivor, helps Dan regain his footing. With her support, Dan ventures on a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting Fortune 500 companies to flesh out a software start-up idea. He then recruits three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change.
Guided by Dan's leadership, Conversationworks enjoys some early successes, but its existence is soon threatened on multiple fronts. Will Dan survive the ensuing corporate battles and realize the potential of his company? Or will he be defeated by his enemies and consumed by his grief?
A book that resonated with me on a personal level a number of times. For what was the first 25% I simply loved the book. It was wonderful and I thought it was just going to be a smooth sailing book about a guy who got knocked down but ended up happy back on his feet. There is much more to this book than meets the eye.
The author weaves a lengthy tale about a troubled soul named Dan. The character suffers loss after loss after loss after loss and gets about as far down as Job could before finding his path. But I also believe there is a deeper message in this book.
This is an incredibly well written book that teaches people the desperate need for the passing of the ERA and focuses a bright spotlight on the horror that is domestic violence. This book shows a fictional way that both of these critical issues can be helped. if only this book could be taken as a guide for modern day America then we could have positive movement in passing the ERA and ending the blight of cowardly men who are so gutless that they raise their hand against a woman.
Personally, this book struck home with two passages. The first trifecta of loss that Dan suffers - his divorce, the death of his son and his loss of work...When I was a very young man I lost my Father, the loss of my school year and the loss of my love. This kind of loss isn't easily conceived if someone hasn't faced it personally.
Further, there was a scene where Dan defended a woman being beaten by beating the coward who beat her and at that time the woman then defended her coward boyfriend. The same thing happened to me last century when I witnessed a man punch his girlfriend and I decked him and was then struck with a purse for 'hurting her boyfriend'. This gave me quite a kinship to Dan.
This is a hard read but it carries a deep and powerful message and should be read by everyone, everywhere.
My Rating: 4 stars
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Rich is a poet, a songwriter and musician, a creative writing teacher at Seven Bridges’ Writer Collaborative, and the author of three novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, and The Beauty of the Fall. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.
The Color of Home was published in 2013 by Langdon Street Press, and melds together honest generative dialogue, poetic sensory detail, and “unforgettable characters who seem to know the complete song catalog of Lennon or Cohen.” The Big Wide Calm was published in 2014, also by Langdon Street Press. The US Review of Books stated, “Marcello’s novel has a lot going for it. Well-written, thought-provoking, and filled with flawed characters, it meets all of the basic requirements of best-of-show in the literary fiction category.” The Beauty of the Fall was published in 2016. Faulkner Award Winner Mark Spencer commented, “Few novels are as intelligent and relevant as The Beauty of the Fall. Almost none is as eloquent, compelling, heartbreaking, and ultimately, uplifting.”
As anyone who has read Rich’s work can tell you, his books deal with life’s big questions: love, loss, creativity, community, aging, self-discovery. His novels are rich with characters and ideas, crafted by a natural storyteller, with the eye and the ear of a poet.
For Rich, writing and art making is about connection, or as he says, about making a difference to a least one other person in the world, something he has clearly achieved many times over, both as an artist, a mentor, and a teacher.
Rich lives in Massachusetts on a lake with his family and two Newfoundlands, Ani and Shaman. He is currently working on his fourth novel, The Latecomers.
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Reviewed by: Mr. N