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Fall [Kindle Edition]

Colin McAdam
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $10.99
You Save: $4.01 (27%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

In the tradition of A Separate Piece, a masterpiece of adolescent perspective, emotion, impulse, and relationships: the riveting story of two male roommates at a co-ed boarding school and what happens when the girlfriend of one of them goes missing during their final year.

From an internationally acclaimed, prizewinning author, whom critics have compared to Dave Eggers and Michael Ondaatje, comes a tour de force: a mesmerizing novel that is at once a spellbinding psychological thriller and a brilliant portrait of adolescence that goes deep into the heads of two very different boys.

Awkward Noel thinks he's been allowed into the inner circle of his elite boarding school when he discovers his senior-year roommate is to be handsome, athletic Julius. Julius, in turn, cares only for the fleeting joys of teenage life: sneaking out to parties, playing pranks with friends, and most of all, spending the night with his girfriend, Fall. As Noel narrates this fateful semester from a perspective of many years, interwoven is Julius's own in-the-moment experiences of first love and male camaraderie.

Always an outsider, Noel develops an unhealthy fascination with Julius, and his crush on Fall begins to border on a dangerous obsession. As Julius experiences all the pleasures of an eighteen-year-old in love, we watch as Noel self-consciously analyzes his interactions with Julius and Fall, convincing himself of a deep connection that might not exist. When Fall disappears close to winter break, Julius and Noel are forced to face their own inner desires, a confrontation that ushers the two boys out of the innocence of adolescence and into adulthood.

A tremendous literary page-turner that perfectly captures the agonies and delights of adolescence, Fall is the exhilaration and angst of teenage love and friendship- and the ultimate transience of those feelings.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A tense literary whodunit set in a prestigious Canadian boarding school, McAdam's second novel (after Some Great Thing) delivers suspense and cunning psychological insight. Chapters alternate between the recollections of Noel, a coldly intelligent loner, and the stream-of-consciousness of Julius, a handsome, popular athlete whose girlfriend, Fall, vanishes one day. Unstated but implicit is Fall's fate at the hands of one of the boys, but, as in many literary mysteries, the plot is secondary to the graceful prose and characterizations. The male characters are drawn with precision; Fall less so, as befits their objectification of her, though the relationship between Fall and Julius is depicted with a bittersweet charm. Julius's point of view is particularly well-done, conveying the inner turmoil of a lovestruck teenager. Noel's memories of their senior year, meanwhile, subtly reflect his emotional distance from others while suggesting a solution to the crime. The book is pleasingly paced and absorbing, and likely to appeal to fans of Arturo Perez-Reverte and Jess Walter. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Fierce, dark, and disturbing-Fall is a journey into obsession and desire. The characters are complicated, real, and passionate. I read this novel from cover to cover in a single sitting, then told everyone I know to do the same. A haunting, memorable book."
-Aryn Kyle, author of The God of Animals

"This book tells a riveting story that breathlessly and beautifully swallows the reader, so there is the sensation of being in there and not just observing what happens. McAdam's style is perfect for his subject: the intensity of young love and the intensity of self-hatred. Reading it is a marvelous experience."
-Elizabeth Strout, bestselling author of Olive Kitteridge

Product Details

  • File Size: 378 KB
  • Print Length: 380 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1594488681
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; 1 Reprint edition (March 31, 2009)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0023EFB28
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,329,721 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Separate Peace Meets American Psycho May 12, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Colin McAdam's FALL starts off like many a prep school book and immediately brings to mind A SEPARATE PEACE because it explores a Finny-like good looking athletic kid (Julius) and his studious, borderline loser roommate (Noel). To give it a twist, McAdam adds the beautiful Fall (Fallon), Julius's girlfriend, and has young Noel develop an unhealthy fascination for BOTH roomie and roomie's girl. It's all going fine -- with a few bumps in the road -- until about halfway through. Then we're faced with the AMERICAN (OK, maybe AUSTRALIAN, as Noel hails from Down Under) PSYCHO part.

Let's start with the bumps in the road. I liked McAdam's work out of the gate because he seemed to have an excellent feel for the "edgy" dynamic between boys living in the close quarters of prep school dorms. The other author who caught this nicely was Richard Yates in A GOOD SCHOOL. The boys are desperate for female love, but kind of, sort of, don't-you-dare-name-it love each other, too, if they're good friends. McAdams is in his element exploring this sensitive territory, and he nails the way boys act and think when they're about their pranks and forbidden pleasures. The bumps, you ask? I didn't think the 1st-person Julius POV (it jumps between them) always worked. Sometimes you'd get a pile-up of staccato-lines like so:

"I'm barfing.
Are you ok says Fall.
Pwuh I say. Plah.
Are you ok.
I love you I say.

But then there's also writing like this, from Noel's point of view:

"I watched Julius play soccer sometimes. My toes got cold. I remember the smell of the leaves. I remember black mud, black-limbed trees, darkening autumn days, and Julius a relentless force on the field, finding a way like water around stones.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Decent story, but not very reader-friendly July 4, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Fall" is set at a prestigious boarding school in Canada, where two roommates slowly get to know each other. The two roommates are Julius - a guy who has everything together, is loved by everyone, and has the most beautiful girl on campus (Fallon, aka Fall); and Noel (aka Wink b/c of his lazy eye) - an introverted, quiet guy who doesn't really have any friends and seemingly doesn't care about that, but internally, has a huge crush on Fall, and what seems like a man-crush on Julius. Their relationship as roommates, and later friends, develops throughout the story until Julius's girlfriend Fall goes missing. One of the main things I didn't like about this book is that the point-of-view kept switching between Noel, Julius and William (Julius's ambassador father's driver), and it was confusing at times to figure out who was speaking until mid-way through the chapter. Also, during most of Julius's chapters, the writing was as if someone was actually talking which was completely hard to follow. The first chapter of this book (which I later found out was a Julius chapter) entirely captures what I did NOT like about the book as a whole. Also, after finishing the book, I still have NO idea what the purpose of the William chapters were - they could have been removed from the book and not have made an ounce of difference. Overall, the story itself was decent, but I did not like how it was just wasn't very reader-friendly. I probably would have rated the book a 2.5 if I were allowed to give half stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars mixed feelings abound July 16, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Fall is the story of some fairly typical kids a Canadian boarding school. The rich/popular kid, the quiet outcast, the pretty girl, etc. Certainly nothing groundbreaking.

That the major event of the story, the disappearance of the pretty girlfriend, is given away in the summary, though doesn't actually happen until 3/4 way through the book seems odd.

The writing style is annoying. Julius (rich/popular kid) speaks in a stream of consciousness that is both hard to read, AND has no valuable content. At best you learn to gloss over it, at worst it will annoy you throughout the book.

Despite this, I still found the book entertaining. I would have preferred to see an expanded post-disappearance section.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Creepy and Disjointed July 6, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Colin McAdam's "Fall" is a creepy story told from three perspectives, in three distinct voices. Essentially it's about two boarding school roommates (sons of wealth and diplomacy) and their interaction with Fall (the female lead who goes missing in this story (not a spoiler)).

The bulk of the story is told in the first person of Noel. He's the creepy roommate who has a history of bizarre behavior and it's readily apparent he's not quite right. He's hard to like and since his voice is the bulk of the story--and it's not all that great a story--this is an unpleasant book to read. Clearly Noel's done something bad and the mystery is whether or not the reader will find out what or how. Noel's voice is occasionally interrupted by the voice of Julius, his more athletic and seemingly normal roommate. The author seems to be experimenting in these sections as they are loaded with very short sentences that often make no sense at all. It's an annoying (but not creepy) voice made tolerable by its brevity. Despite the clipped nature of Julius's sections, the reader does get a sense of his relationship with Fall. The final voice is William--Julius's father's driver. It's the best voice--by far--in the novel, but the sections hardly seem to fit in this novel, nor do they push the story forward. In addition, this is the most infrequent voice in "Fall".

Overall, I found the author's approach interesting, but don't believe it worked as well as it could've if the Julius sections had been more revealing (and/or coherent). The late adolescent aspect seemed well rendered, but Noel was far too creepy and Julius far too non-sensical to keep my interest. Lots of potential, but a missed attempt here.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The deepest and darkest areas of the human heart revealed.
This book explores the deepest, darkest and most tender areas of the human heart.
Adolescence is a time of molding, shaping and refining. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars profound psychological suspense
At affluent prestigious St. Ebury School in Sutton, Canada, the son of an American diplomat extroverted athletic Julius and the lovely Fallon are an entry. Read more
Published on June 2, 2010 by Harriet Klausner
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, disappointing ending.
From the back cover, I knew that Noel had a dangerous obsession with Fall (Fallon) and that both he and Julius would have to face their own demons after Fall went missing. Read more
Published on October 8, 2009 by Eliza Bennet
4.0 out of 5 stars Riding the knife edge of great, sputters at the end.
I can definitely see why there's such a wide range of opinions where this extremely creative, very dark work is concerned. Read more
Published on August 15, 2009 by J. D. Murray
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and fascinating profile of a true sociopath
This novel tells the story of Noel and Julius, two upper-class young men who share a room at a fictional boarding school in Canada. Read more
Published on July 24, 2009 by Scarlett
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
After I finished this book I was very frustrated. I wanted the 2 days of my life back that it took to read this dribble. It is poorly written and pointless to put it mildly.
Published on July 19, 2009 by Pezhead
3.0 out of 5 stars A let down
This book revolves around a group of guys at a boarding school and one's obsession with another roommate of his and a girl named Fall. Read more
Published on June 15, 2009 by Amy Lynn
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as smart as it wanted to be
This was supposed to be an edgy thriller, I think. It wasn't, really. It was a sad story of a misfit, but ultimately, no one in the book was very likable. Read more
Published on June 5, 2009 by R. Leigh
5.0 out of 5 stars Falling For "Fall"--A Disturbing And Deeply Human Story of Friendship...
Colin McAdam's "Fall" charts the territory of a thriller as it contemplates the relationship of three boarding school students in the throes of love, friendship, and even... Read more
Published on June 3, 2009 by K. Harris
2.0 out of 5 stars A hot mess
The book is about two roommates, Noel and Julius. Noel had a crush on fellow student Fall but kept it internalized. Read more
Published on May 26, 2009 by no thank you
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