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The Beauty of the Fall by Rich Marcello

Source: I received monetary compensation for this honest review.
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Format: eBook, Print
Publication Date: October 25, 2016

Back Cover


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, Olivia Whitmore, 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. When Dan returns home with a fully formed vision, he recruits the help of three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change.

Guided by Dan’s generative 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?


Please note: Since this is a paid review, I will not post it on Goodreads or merchants' websites. As such, I have included a rating and a brief explanation of the rating at the end of the review.

After the death of Dan Underlight's son, Zack, Dan throws himself into growing the company that he helped to create, RadioRadio. When his friend and boss, Olivia, fires him from RadioRadio, Dan is crushed by an overwhelming sense of emptiness.

Having isolated himself from his friends, Dan meets Willow under some pretty unusual circumstances. Willow, a domestic abuse survivor and advocate for victims of domestic violence, helps to guide Dan out of the void and the two fall in love. With Willow's help and support, he comes up with an idea for a startup company and decides to reflect on this idea by traveling to Fortune 500 companies around the country. During his pilgrimage, his vision becomes fully-formed and he decides to make his dream a reality by starting Conversationworks, a company that takes social media to the next level by encouraging conversations to spark social change.

Dan's journey to the top is an arduous one, and there are many who wish to block his path. Will Dan overcome these challenges, or will he face that crushing emptiness again?

It isn't very often that I cry while reading a book that I've been asked to review; however, I cried near the end. Not because it was bad, but because it was so well-written that I found it impossible to maintain a semblance of professional detachment while I was reading.

The characters and the setting are nothing short of vivid and inspiring. I felt like I was on a journey with them; seeing what they saw and feeling what they were feeling. I contemplated their musings, I felt their joy and pain, I cheered when they succeeded, and I empathized with them when they fell short. If the human condition could be summarized in 283 pages, this book would come close to achieving it.

The detailed snapshot of the human condition is not limited to the protagonists; Marcello discusses several social issues with a rare form of clarity and wisdom that comes from a deep understanding of these issues. One cannot help but to empathize with the folks in Michigan, the domestic violence victims, the visionaries whose ideas remain unfulfilled, and the pilgrims who are on a journey towards inner peace.

The poetry that Marcello includes in the book is evocative and emphasizes the events that are taking place. I found that the lyrical and thoughtful qualities in his writing are demonstrated throughout the entirety of the book. While one might be tempted to skip over these poems to see what happens next, reading the poems and reflecting on their meanings will allow one to fully comprehend the emotions that surround each event.

Marcello's writing is impeccable! His phrasing is fluid, there aren't any awkward pauses, his ability to clearly explain concepts in brilliant, the characters are realistic, and the setting is vibrant. The Beauty of the Fall is definitely not your standard "struggling entrepreneur rises to the top" story; it is a unique and moving work of contemporary fiction that will remain relevant for years to come.

Rating: 5/5 - Wonderful characters, stunning setting, and beautiful characters in a plot that moves forward at a great pace and keeps readers engaged.

About Rich Marcello

Rich Marcello, author of The Beauty of the Fall, book review, On My Kindle Book Reviews
Rich Marcello, author. Courtesy of Goodreads.
Rich is a poet, an accomplished 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 forthcoming, The Beauty of the Fall, due out in 2016. 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 will be 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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