Before the Fall (Hawley) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
The questions below have been graciously submitted to LitLovers by Linda at Anaheim Hills Page Turners. Many thanks, Linda.

1. "Everyone has their path. The choices they’ve made. How any 2 people end up in the same place at the same time is a mystery." Or "everyone is from someplace. We all have stories, our lives unfolding along crooked lines, colliding in unexpected ways." Do you believe it is circumstance or fate or small decisions and chance encounters which have brought these people together ?

2. Jack LaLanne figures incidentally in this novel. Do you remember him from your youth? How do his philosophy and actions figure into the plot of this story?

3. The beginning of Chapter 3 begins with the plane in the Atlantic, after the crash. Were you surprised to have missed the crash? Why would the author handle this incident in such a sudden and unexplained way?

4. Scott Burroughs, our reluctant protagonist, saves himself and 4 year old. What motivated him to such a heroic act? Do you agree, "Once you become a hero, you lose your privacy"?

5. The first indication for Scott that his heroism was going to be a "messy situation" was his meeting with Gus Franklin of the NTSB, who asked him, "Were you sleeping with Mrs. Bateman?" What would have been your reaction if you were Scott? And how did his artwork figure into this story?

6. David Bateman’s philosophy of a news network was, "All other networks react to the news. We’re going to Make the News." He meant their network would "shape the events of the day to fit the message of their network." Do you think this is true of news stations today? What effect has it had on our culture?

7. Why did the Batemans have 24/7 security guards? Who was Gil Baruch and what was his story?

8. Bill Cunningham is a reporter-commentator on ALC. How does he impact the news and the story line? Was he "the raging voice of common sense, the sane man in an insane world?" Do you believe it is possible to be an impartial newsperson? And what did Cunningham do to collect news that was illegal? Does this remind you of any real news story?

9. What kind of business was Ben Kipling involved in? How might this have affected the future of the flight?

10. What theories were developed about the cause of the crash?

11. Finally we learn about Charlie Busch. What motivated him in his murderous actions? Is there any way to protect ourselves from people like this?

12. What tips the NTSB and the FBI that the plane had suffered neither mechanical nor pilot error?

13. How has experiencing the crash and subsequent investigations changed or altered Scott? What do you imagine or hope for Scott’s future?

14. What different meanings could the title BEFORE THE FALL signify?

15. Noah Hawley is well-known for his work in film and television. (Bones, Fargo, Legion, etc.) Did his style of writing help you, confuse you, or add to the tension of the mystery? Why did he use the flashback style of writing?

16. Did you enjoy reading this book? Did it keep you involved in the mystery? Did it challenge any of your ideas?

(Questions submitted to LitLovers by Linda of Anaheim Hills Page Turners. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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