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The Beauty of the Fall: A Novel by [Marcello, Rich]
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The Beauty of the Fall: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Length: 283 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Few novels are as intelligent and relevant as The Beauty of the Fall.  Almost none is as eloquent, compelling, heartbreaking, and ultimately, uplifting."  -- Mark Spencer, Faulkner Award winner and author of Ghostwalking
 
***
 
Five Star and Gold Award Winner

From the very first paragraph, Rich Marcello drew me into his book with a command of the language that I liken to a poet's. Passages like this one, "He put his head down, tried to rekindle the wildfire he helped birth years ago, tried to daydream down a riven path." and this one, "Don't look down, the pinpricks have spouted and are covering the new carpet in blood." provided me with ample proof early on that Marcello was a real deal literary composer, a master of the language, and a wordsmith with soulful depths.

But beautiful language alone can't make a reader keep reading. Original characters with powerful character arcs and a compelling story to keep all the characters growing is fundamental. No problem there, either. From Dan to his counselor to Willow to his son, stronger characterization is front and center. I know Dan--he reminds me of the author Richard Bach. I know Willow, too, this wild child, compassionate, changer of the world woman who is always strong, always courageous even when her heart is broken. These characters kept me reading.

Then we arrive at the story. Characters and language need movement, need story, setting, pace, tension. Marcello has these covered, too. Set in New England, the vivid colors of the seasons remain clear in my brain long after I finished the book. Authors who take the time to divide their books into parts and give them names always receive a grateful nod from me. I like to know the structure of a story before I begin reading, and I like rolling back to the Table of Contents to remind myself what's next in this journey. The Beauty of the Fall's Table of Contents is especially brilliant; titles like "So it Spins," "Build from the Sky Down," "Spectacles, and Halos and Code" promised each chapter would carry its own mini-story and all the mini-stories would merge to form a powerful narrative.

Themes of forgiveness, trust, simplicity, honor, technology as healer, and non-violence echo through the pages of The Beauty of the Fall and held me captive until the end. If I had to name a gripe, it would be that the last chapter was unnecessary. The story should have ended with "The Good-bye Return," but I can understand why, for closure's sake, Marcello included "In the Coming."

The Beauty of the Fall will appeal to readers who love a compelling, well-written story with elements of literary fiction, technology fiction, and romantic fiction. Marcello doesn't write the type of literary fiction that prizes language over story. He writes the type that uses beautifully soulful language to real unique characters living compelling bittersweet lives.  - The Hungry Monster Book Review
 
***
 
Ten-year-old Zackery Underlight is dead.  His father Dan however, is just learning to live again. There is a certain haunting lyricism to this remarkable book about a father coming to grips with the death of his only son - a death he feels he caused.  There's also a tortured search for self-renewal and forgiveness that extends far beyond the natural grieving of a parent for his child . . . These carefully paced reveals of a deeply conflicted character - coupled with a fascinating glimpse into how high-tech start-ups are born - make this one of the year's best works of literary fiction . . . Its rich depth, satisfying substance, and willingness to examine key social issues such as global warming and battered women, force the reader to confront the truly inconvenient truths all around us while remaining invested in the story's key players . . . This is a rare read, and one to be savored, especially now, when seeking respite from the current worries of an uncertain national - and international - future.  It's good tonic for the soul; a restorative tale of perseverance against all odds . . . Five-plus stars to Beauty of the Fall.  From start to finish, it never disappoints. - Don Sloan, The Midwest Book Review
 
***
 
That kind of spectacular writing, interspersed with actual poetry, business vignettes drawn from life, and development of a deeply flawed, complex, and charismatic main character made this one of the best books I've read this year. For anyone with a technology background, The Beauty of the Fall is a must read. For everyone else, it's a present right now, even as fall's beauty heads to winter. - Barb Taub for Rosie's Book Review Team
 
***
 
The level of detail Marcello puts into the descriptions of the business and its establishment is astounding, hinting at countless hours of research to get it right. Even better, for a topic that could very easily be dull, he manages to keep it engaging throughout.
It's not just the technical stuff that Marcello can turn into something great, his dialogue is, for the most part, realistic and engaging, and he often treats the reader to beautiful imagery and a great turn of phrase.
The Suits are black, genderless, and fill the elevator. As they slowly unload, walk toward my office, they scan everything-- the flash-frozen employees watching their entrance, the desks filled with proprietary info, the cappuccino maker that would never make its way into one of their government offices. Maggie, who is standing next to me, who I insisted attend this meeting despite her strong objections, turns ashen, and a fidget subjugates her hand.
There's plenty more to the book than just the new business -- and how it plans to change the world. The reader is thrown into Dan's life as he struggles to find and keep a meaningful relationship, as he fails to cope with his son's death and as he looks for answers in all the wrong places.  - Striking13.com
 
***
 
In an Oyster Shell - This was an emotionally raw, well-poised, literary fiction that was  unique with a fullness that is richly fulfilling.

The Pearls -
The narrative was raw, poignant and provocative. This was a primarily character-driven story. With well-developed characters, that worked in favor to the story.

The main character was  flawed and compromised a lot in the story. Yet, he had a moral backbone that exceeded every questionable choice he made. The author put the character through some detrimental circumstances that were intense. The character understandably broke but always rebounded with a resiliency that kept the reader turning page after page.

Realistic contemporary components with pop culture references were interlaced with well-composed believable fiction. It gives the reader a wide point of reference that makes the prose pleasingly palatable. -Writingpearls.com
 
***
 
"Rich Marcello's The Beauty of the Fall takes the reader on two intriguing journeys: the exciting coffee-fueled rise of a high-tech start-up and the emotional near-collapse of the man behind the revolutionary company, his personal journey through grief and healing." -- Jessamyn Hope, author of Safekeeping 
 
***
 
Rich Marcello's third novel, The Beauty of the Fall, intermixes  poetry and prose fluidly throughout the manuscript, and in fact, incorporates poetry as one of its major themes. As a practicing poet, I was swept away by  the lyrical language, the characters, and the unexpected twists and turns in the plot. Overall, a great and inspiring read! -- Rebecca Givens Rolland, author of The Wreck of Birds 

From the Back Cover

Ten-year-old Zackery Underlight is dead. His father Dan, however, is just learning to live again. 
     
There is a certain haunting lyricism to this remarkable book about a father coming to grips with the death of his only son -- a death he feels he caused. There's also a tortured search for self-renewal and forgiveness that extends far beyond the natural grieving of a parent for his child. 
     
Other recent losses for Dan include a failed marriage and the sudden evaporation of his high-powered, high-tech job -- the one that consumed so much of the time he now feels he should have spent with Zack.
     
On the one hand, he feels keenly the unfocused anger and seeming senselessness of his situation. But, on the other, he feels the need to harness and channel his rage and guilt into something constructive and therapeutic.
     
So, improbably, he begins an offbeat pilgrimage across America, covering  twelve thousand miles, thirty-two states -- and 234 Fortune 500 companies. His goal: to construct a Lilliputian pyramid of small stones on the campus of every corporate giant across the nation.
     
If this sounds strange, it somehow makes perfect sense in the context of this masterfully written book. Dan is searching for something intangible as he pursues his odd quest. At one point prior to beginning, he ponders to himself:
     
"How can I extract meaning from the universe when loss and betrayal have corroded and burnt my cherished memories? How can I reconstitute after being charred and dissolved?"
     
It's a fair question about the vagaries of the cosmos, and, as he brings his odyssey to an abrupt halt just off I-5 in California -- the result of being robbed by a hitchhiker -- he decides to turn his energy in a new direction: the startup of his own tiny technology firm.
     
ConversationWorks, or "CW," takes off like a bullet shot into cyberspace. It's a brand-new social media app that places far-flung parties in a series of virtual conference rooms to find solutions to weighty problems facing the world. 
     
At least that's the idealistic objective. Here's Dan's overarching vision of the singular, groundbreaking concept:
"ConversationWorks is a local problem-solving network with global scale. It's software that allows small group conversation to scale all the way from coffeehouses, to towns, to cities, to the world, with the primary goal of collectively working on problems that matter to its users."
      
It is, effectively, a technology platform where "conversations are active and focused on solving problems instead of socializing."
     
So, imagine Twitter without the interaction-limiting, forced brevity; Facebook without the memes and cute kittens. Instead, there is substantive dialogue and meaningful social change through consensus and aggregated resolve.
     
The software and revolutionary VR hardware that make it work, however, are quickly subverted by early adopters to far less noble notions -- such as ordinary business teleconferencing, family-to-family interactions, virtual blind dates, and even pornography (which the team quickly bans).
     
And through it all -- the eager market acceptance, the explosive worldwide growth -- Dan is still filled with relational angst. 
     
He parts ways with gentle Willow, his first companion since he and his wife split up. He clings desperately to his core development team at CW. And he increasingly has extended conversations with his dead son -- full-blown, holographic encounters in which a now-teen-aged Zack gives his father sage advice on his day-to-day decisions.
     
And there are other, darker rituals into which Dan drifts, seeking solace in a self-imposed purgatory amidst universal acclaim for his world-changing creation.
     
These carefully paced reveals of a deeply conflicted character -- coupled with a fascinating glimpse into how high-tech start-ups are born -- make this one of the year's best works of literary fiction.
Its rich depth, satisfying substance, and willingness to examine key social issues such as global warming and battered women, force the reader to confront the truly inconvenient truths all around us while remaining invested in the story's key players.
     
Indeed, the book strikes a beautiful balance between detailed, fact-filled exposition and the need to drive the central storyline forward -- often with compellingly evocative prose and poetry:
     
"Against my cheek, her shawl smells like freshly woven wool on a cold fall day and feels like a refuge after too many unkind nights."
      
And, this, upon hearing of Zack's death:
     
"Ghosts pass through me like dry ice, drain whatever life energy exists." 
     
And, finally, this, after a boardroom showdown with Dan's former boss:
      
"Olivia smiles as if the blood is already on her teeth."
     
So much good imagery en route to a satisfying conclusion.
     
This is a rare read, and one to be savored, especially now, when seeking respite from the current worries of an uncertain national -- and international -- future. It's good tonic for the soul; a restorative tale of perseverance against tall odds.
     
Five-plus stars to Beauty of the Fall. From start to finish, it never disappoints.
-Don Sloan, The Midwest Book Review

Product details

  • File Size: 1027 KB
  • Print Length: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Langdon Street Press (October 25, 2016)
  • Publication Date: October 25, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01MFCTYYW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,592,732 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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