Customer Reviews for

The Fall: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2014

    Read this

    Mawer is a very good writer

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2010

    Great writing makes up for some weak characterizations

    I'm fascinated both by mountain climbing (well, reading about it) and Britain during World War II, so this book was a slam dunk for me. The Fall jumps between contemporary England and Wales and World War II, as we meet climbers Jamie and Rob and their mothers. Rob travels to Wales after Jamie's death and reflects on their lives; Mawer weaves that story with the story of their mothers, Meg and Diana, during WWII.

    The sections about Meg and Diana in London during the war really brought that period to life for me in a way that other books and movies haven't been able to. The day-to-day realities of the Blitz were there as an organic part of the story, not as a lesson.

    Mawer also handles the mountain climbing sections well. I've read a number of books about climbing, and again, he writes the sections in such a way that brings the experience of climbing to life. I admit that I have a tendency to skim over long descriptions of things like climbing, but I didn't do that with this book.

    There are some weak aspects. Mawer draws some characters very clearly, but others--major characters--remain a mystery. Though I enjoy that he leaves a lot of things ambiguous, there are some character actions that are completely lacking. On initial read, it's easy to ignore, but deeper inspection of character motivations leave the reader wondering.

    The plot, also, is nothing particularly new. The bringing together of mountain climbing and WWII may be new, but the stories of Meg, Diana, Rob, and Jamie are nothing you haven't seen before. And the end of the story hardly comes as a surprise.

    But it's all so well written, it doesn't matter.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    complex relationship drama

    Rob Dewar is driving home to his family when he hears on the radio about the death of his friend Jamie Matthewson from a mountain climbing fall. Though he and Jamie had not spoken in years, Rob heads to Wales to learn what went wrong and to provide comfort to his buddy¿s widow Ruth. Rob begins learning about his deceased friend, the man¿s family, and his own parents, more than he probably wants to know. He finds out that Jamie¿s father Guy and Diana Sheridan fell in love and shared a night together in 1940. However, while Guy is a conscientious objector married to a German wife, Diana heads to London to work as a nurse. She ends their affair and aborts the fetus. She marries, but that relationship fails as Guy has her love. After World War II ends, Guy and Diana meet, but though she is free he is now married to Meg. Still they share one last night of love. The historical tidbits bring alive the 1940s and 1960s. The characters are three-dimensional and are very complex. The story line is richly textured as readers observe how star-crossed lovers survive though not with one another. With all that going and Simon Mawer¿s usual strong prose, the novel falls a bit short because the secret once revealed seems insignificant in the scheme of life. Still though not quite a MENDEL'S DWARF, THE FALL displays the talent of Mr. Mawer to tell a tale that will provide much pleasure to fans of complex relationship dramas. Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2014

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