BY BRYAN REESMAN
WHEN AUTHOR, screen-writer and television producer Noah Hawley takes a
half-hour break to chat with
The Connection, it’s clear he
is a busy man. He has recently
watched the final episode
from the first season of
Legion (a show he created);
he is preparing to return to Canada for Fargo,
which at the time of this interview is halfway
through production of its third season; and he is
adapting Before the Fall, his fifth novel and this
month’s book buyer’s pick, into a movie. “I don’t
know what it’s like to wake up after the sun comes
up, but I try to go to bed before the sun goes down,”
Not that he’s grousing. Hawley, the Emmy
Award–winning creator of and writer for FX’s
Fargo, is enjoying the wild ride he has been on since
that show expanded his career more deeply into
television. Previously he had penned four books
and one movie, written for TV’s Bones and created
two short-lived series. Now he’s in high demand.
Despite the rigors of the small screen and the
responsibilities of parenting a ;-year-old daughter and a ;-year-old son, Hawley has become a
master multitasker who constantly bubbles over
with new ideas. Before the Fall is brimming with
enough details and observations to fill two novels.
The story focuses on the two survivors of a
small plane crash off the eastern coast of Long
Island. A struggling ;;-year-old painter named
Scott Burroughs rescues a ;-year-old boy named
JJ and swims eight miles to shore with him. Despite
his heroism, federal authorities and an inflamma-
tory talk show host named Bill Cunningham eye
Burroughs suspiciously since many of the other
nine passengers were wealthy and powerful. It does
not help that he regularly paints disaster scenes.
As the investigation unfolds, he evades the rabid
press seeking to assign blame and dig up dirt.
In many ways, Before the Fall is a character
drama disguised as a thriller, since the protagonist
is not the one tasked with solving the mystery.
While readers might think they know where the
story is going, they will be surprised by the ending.
“Usually, in the last ;;; pages of a thriller,
people are running and it’s plot twist after plot
twist, and what was exciting for me here is in
order to solve the mystery you have to solve the
characters,” says Hawley. “Plenty of people on
the plane could be the cause of this crash for one
reason or another, and ultimately the solution is
a human solution.”
The author consistently grounds the story in
reality, especially as his goal was, through flash-
back chapters chronicling the lives of each pas-
senger, to make readers care about them rather
than treating them like a faceless list of names.
Indeed, Hawley, a Costco member, views his books
as “emotional thrillers” because “they’re not plot
delivery devices; they’re character delivery
devices,” he explains. “But the thriller structure
allows me to pull the reader in and to create life-
or-death stakes that matter; then, within that,
you turn it into something unexpected.”
“I just do things that are interesting to me,”
says Hawley. “I certainly like to joke about Fargo
that my instinct was that two people would watch
it and one of them would be hate-watching it.
Then it turned into one of the most critically
acclaimed shows that’s been made. It still baffles
me on some level that this thing that is so specific
and slightly odd and mixes tone in such a compli-
cated way could be so accessible and interesting
to people. That’s the same with the books and with
Legion, certainly, which is such an odd show.
People get it and are hungry for things that are
not simplistic. It’s really rewarding.” C
Bryan Reesman is an author and regular contributor to The Connection.
ONE OF LIFE’S great small
pleasures is falling in love with
a book and then realizing that
the author has a backlist you
get to explore. That’s just what
happened after I read this
month’s book buyer’s pick,
Noah Hawley’s Before the Fall.
The story begins with the
crash of a small private jet off
the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.
Of the 11 passengers, only
two survive: a painter and a
young boy, who is now heir to
a large family fortune. The sus-
pense builds as readers move
between the aftermath of the
crash and the lives of the pas-
sengers before they perished.
Hawley is so talented; I be-
lieve many readers will fall for
his writing just as hard as I did.
Before the Fall (Item
#1160953) will be available 6/6
in most warehouses.
For more book picks,
see page 91.
—Pennie Clark Ianniciello,
How Noah Hawley approaches his creative work
Solving the characters
Costco has 50 signed copies of Noah Hawley’s
Before the Fall with signed book plates to
give away. To enter, go to costcoconnection
NO PURCHASE, PAYMENT OR OPT-IN OF ANY KIND IS
NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPS TAKES.
Purchase will not improve odds of winning. Sweepstakes
is sponsored by Costco Wholesale, 1045 Lake Drive,
Issaquah, WA 98027. Open to legal residents of the U. S.
(except Puerto Rico) who are age 18 or older at the time of
entry. One entry per household. Entries must be received
before the July issue is available online, which will happen
around June 26, 2017. Winners will be randomly selected and
noti;ed by mail on or before August 1, 2017.
The value of the prize is $15.99. Void where prohibited.
Winners are responsible for all applicable federal, state and
local taxes. Odds of winning depend on the number of
eligible entries received. Employees of Costco or Hachette
Book Group and their families are not eligible.
SIGNED BOOK GIVEAWAY