Review: Fallout by Sadie Jones

Sadie Jones
Harper April 29, 2014
Pages 416
ISBN13: 9780062292810
A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads  •  Amazon  •  Indiebound  •  Powell’s Books

Reviewer: Melinda
Recommendation: 3/4

From Goodreads:
Leaving behind an emotionally disastrous childhood in a provincial northern town, budding playwright Luke Kanowski begins a new life in London that includes Paul Driscoll, an aspiring producer who will become his best friend, and Leigh Radley, Paul’s girlfriend. Talented and ambitious, the trio found a small theater company that enjoys unexpected early success. Then, one fateful evening, Luke meets Nina Jacobs, a dynamic and emotionally damaged actress he cannot forget, even after she drifts into a marriage with a manipulative theater producer.

As Luke becomes a highly sought after playwright, he stumbles in love, caught in two triangles where love requited and unrequited, friendship, and art will clash with terrible consequences for all involved.

Fallout is an elegantly crafted novel whose characters struggle to escape the various cataclysms of their respective pasts. Falling in love convinces us we are the pawns of the gods; Fallout brings us firmly into the psyche of romantic love-its sickness and its ecstasy.


My Thoughts
Fallout a sophisticated, literary, highly dramatic novel of theater, love entanglements and friendship.

Highly character driven the novel feeds off the past and the history it carries to the present with all five characters. All five characters drive the narrative, however, the main protagonist is Luke in which everything moves around his presence. I felt an instantaneous fondness for Luke, as for the other players a lukewarm attachment forged.

“He saw Nina Jacobs kneeling before him. He felt her very close to him; the imprisoned girl and the closing-in of cell doors accompanying him through the night.”

The setting is another feature pushing and making the narrative, 1970’s London, icons mentioned, music referenced, you do feel a unmistakable vibe of the 70’s. Jones tugs the reader to the innards of theatre. The pulse of the novel is theatre and relationships. Fallout reads as a play, the interactions come across as scenes with all the melodrama expected.

I found Jones writing meager yet plentiful. It’s simplicity draws the reader. Jones has a background in script writing and plays, evident in her presentation and measure. Her style allows the reader an ocular treat through characters thoughts and narrative descriptions.

Fallout is a compelling read of friendship, desertion as well as the pursuit of dreams. The varying characters as well as their perspectives voiced enlighten the intricate narrative.

“He surveyed the sea of black words on white, and like the clearest church bell ringing out the hour he knew the time had come. He could no longer keep himself from judgment. The safe experiment of other people’s work was gone; there was only his own.”



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