Winner #RBRT 2017 Award for Best Contemporary Fiction
That kind of spectacular writing, interspersed with actual poetry, business vignettes drawn from life, and development of a deeply flawed, complex, and charismatic main character made this one of the best books I've read this year. For anyone with a technology background, The Beauty of the Fall is a must read. For everyone else, it's a present right now, even as fall's beauty heads to winter. –– Barb Taub for Rosie's Book Review Team
Five Star and Gold Award Winner
From the very first paragraph, Rich Marcello drew me into his book with a command of the language that I liken to a poet's. Passages like this one, "He put his head down, tried to rekindle the wildfire he helped birth years ago, tried to daydream down a riven path." and this one, "Don't look down, the pinpricks have spouted and are covering the new carpet in blood." provided me with ample proof early on that Marcello was a real deal literary composer, a master of the language, and a wordsmith with soulful depths.
But beautiful language alone can't make a reader keep reading. Original characters with powerful character arcs and a compelling story to keep all the characters growing is fundamental. No problem there, either. From Dan to his counselor to Willow to his son, stronger characterization is front and center. I know Dan--he reminds me of the author Richard Bach. I know Willow, too, this wild child, compassionate, changer of the world woman who is always strong, always courageous even when her heart is broken. These characters kept me reading.
Then we arrive at the story. Characters and language need movement, need story, setting, pace, tension. Marcello has these covered, too. Set in New England, the vivid colors of the seasons remain clear in my brain long after I finished the book. Authors who take the time to divide their books into parts and give them names always receive a grateful nod from me. I like to know the structure of a story before I begin reading, and I like rolling back to the Table of Contents to remind myself what's next in this journey. The Beauty of the Fall's Table of Contents is especially brilliant; titles like "So it Spins," "Build from the Sky Down," "Spectacles, and Halos and Code" promised each chapter would carry its own mini-story and all the mini-stories would merge to form a powerful narrative.
Themes of forgiveness, trust, simplicity, honor, technology as healer, and non-violence echo through the pages of The Beauty of the Fall and held me captive until the end. If I had to name a gripe, it would be that the last chapter was unnecessary. The story should have ended with "The Good-bye Return," but I can understand why, for closure's sake, Marcello included "In the Coming."
The Beauty of the Fall will appeal to readers who love a compelling, well-written story with elements of literary fiction, technology fiction, and romantic fiction. Marcello doesn't write the type of literary fiction that prizes language over story. He writes the type that uses beautifully soulful language to real unique characters living compelling bittersweet lives.––The Hungry Monster Book Review
Ten-year-old Zackery Underlight is dead. His father Dan however, is just learning to live again. There is a certain haunting lyricism to this remarkable book about a father coming to grips with the death of his only son - a death he feels he caused. There's also a tortured search for self-renewal and forgiveness that extends far beyond the natural grieving of a parent for his child . . . These carefully paced reveals of a deeply conflicted character - coupled with a fascinating glimpse into how high-tech start-ups are born - make this one of the year's best works of literary fiction . . . Its rich depth, satisfying substance, and willingness to examine key social issues such as global warming and battered women, force the reader to confront the truly inconvenient truths all around us while remaining invested in the story's key players . . . This is a rare read, and one to be savored, especially now, when seeking respite from the current worries of an uncertain national - and international - future. It's good tonic for the soul; a restorative tale of perseverance against all odds . . . Five-plus stars to Beauty of the Fall. From start to finish, it never disappoints. ––Don Sloan, The Midwest Book Review
The level of detail Marcello puts into the descriptions of the business and its establishment is astounding, hinting at countless hours of research to get it right. Even better, for a topic that could very easily be dull, he manages to keep it engaging throughout. It's not just the technical stuff that Marcello can turn into something great, his dialogue is, for the most part, realistic and engaging, and he often treats the reader to beautiful imagery and a great turn of phrase. The Suits are black, genderless, and fill the elevator. As they slowly unload, walk toward my office, they scan everything-- the flash-frozen employees watching their entrance, the desks filled with proprietary info, the cappuccino maker that would never make its way into one of their government offices. Maggie, who is standing next to me, who I insisted attend this meeting despite her strong objections, turns ashen, and a fidget subjugates her hand. There's plenty more to the book than just the new business -- and how it plans to change the world. The reader is thrown into Dan's life as he struggles to find and keep a meaningful relationship, as he fails to cope with his son's death and as he looks for answers in all the wrong places. –– Striking13.com
In an Oyster Shell - This was an emotionally raw, well-poised, literary fiction that was unique with a fullness that is richly fulfilling. The Pearls -The narrative was raw, poignant and provocative. This was a primarily character-driven story. With well-developed characters, that worked in favor to the story. The main character was flawed and compromised a lot in the story. Yet, he had a moral backbone that exceeded every questionable choice he made. The author put the character through some detrimental circumstances that were intense. The character understandably broke but always rebounded with a resiliency that kept the reader turning page after page. Realistic contemporary components with pop culture references were interlaced with well-composed believable fiction. It gives the reader a wide point of reference that makes the prose pleasingly palatable.––Writingpearls.com
The Beauty Of The Fall is a unique story that’ll grip you right from the start till the very end. It is a story full of heartache, sadness, dreams and possibilities – everything that makes this book a complete package. I liked the basic concept on which The Beauty Of The Fall is based upon. To have a software that brings truth to selected conversations is not only unique but also very intriguing. Especially in times like these, the application of measures mentioned in this book will surely make for a nice topic of discussion. The characterization was good and I was able to connect with the main character, Dan Underlight. The secondary characters were also well developed, but I was glad that the author let the main lead, Dan, steal the show. ––The Reading Bud
THE BEAUTY OF THE FALL IS AN IDEA-DRIVEN NOVEL EXAMINING THE GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT OF IDEAS AS LIFE CHURNS. The Beauty of the Fall tackles emotionally transformative topics, explores father-son relationships, and working through grief. This mulitlayered novel explores social issues such as climate change, domestic violence, equality for women, and examines the internal struggle of corporate and political America against the people. The Beauty of the Fall suggests that in order to progress, we must communicate with each other and look at technology based solutions to many of our current social problems. Five Stars. ––Breakaway Daily
Verdict: THE BEAUTY OF THE FALL is well-named--it is almost a poem in prose about the ability of the human spirit to find beauty, new hope, and new purpose even through loss, grief and despair. THE BEAUTY OF THE FALL is a poetic book, which shows us the internal world of a driven, devoted, thoughtful and very human protagonist through grief and triumph, love and heartbreak. Hope shines through this book even at its darkest moments, and it offers a quiet guide on achieving true happiness and peace in a world that sometimes seems to reward all the wrong things. The book is told entirely from Dan’s point of view, giving an intimate, personal perspective that brings the reader right into the story. That kind of first-person perspective requires, for its best effect, a fully-developed and complex protagonist to do its thinking, and Dan does not disappoint. He has enough flaws to make him interesting, but at heart, he is a warm and likeable guy, trying as hard as he can to contribute something of value in the world, to heal his own broken places, and to find real meaning in loss. The author’s writing style is thoughtful, almost lyrical, giving the book’s events an emotional rhythm and deepening their meaning. ––IndieReader
The Beauty of the Fall has a great deal to recommend it to readers of literary fiction: the excitement of a business venture, the poignancy of a primal loss and a host of unusual characters. Marcello doesn’t pull his punches when describing Dan’s self-destructive behavior (born of his grief and helplessness), nor does he force a happy ending. —blueink Review
''Few novels are as intelligent and relevant as The Beauty of the Fall. Almost none is as eloquent, compelling, heartbreaking, and ultimately, uplifting.'' ––Mark Spencer, Faulkner Award winner and author of Ghostwalking
''Rich Marcello's The Beauty of the Fall takes the reader on two intriguing journeys: the exciting coffee-fueled rise of a high-tech start-up and the emotional near-collapse of the man behind the revolutionary company, his personal journey through grief and healing.'' ––Jessamyn Hope, author of Safekeeping
''Rich Marcello's third novel, The Beauty of the Fall, intermixes poetry and prose fluidly throughout the manuscript, and in fact, incorporates poetry as one of its major themes. As a practicing poet, I was swept away by the lyrical language, the characters, and the unexpected twists and turns in the plot. Overall, a great and inspiring read!'' ––Rebecca Givens Rolland, author of The Wreck of Birds
I didn’t want to stop reading The Big Wide Calm. It has a great empowering message that fits in with this blogs theme of individual empowerment. One telling trait of a great book is reaching the last page and craving more, which is what happened at the end of The Big Wide Calm. This alluring story is full of surprises making it difficult to put down. You may think you know how things will end, but the twists and turn are not predictable; you will be surprised at how each one plays out. A plus that you don’t always find in stories about musicians on their road to fame are the enchanting lyrics to the songs that Paige creates throughout the story. The lyrical development is an integral part of her journey and one of my favorite parts. I recommend this book for anyone who loves to read about following dreams, lasting friendships, intimate romance and of course music. Even more this book offers a broader message of seeking our own paths in a world that is at best confounding. ––impoweryou.org
I highly recommend The Big Wide Calm to lovers of music, of strong female characters, of bigger existential ideas. It was a heartfelt journey of self-discovery, of forming chosen families, and of finding life-altering love. Go check it out. You won’t regret it. ––videomusicstars.com
The writing gets ragged and raw when it needs to. Marcello doesn't just write about the glitz and glam of the music industry, he drags us to the gutters of world most of us won't ever get a chance to see. His writing can switch gears to lyrical and evocative at times, too. Marcello really spreads his sophomore book wings in this novel and tackles the first person POV of a young woman surprisingly well. ––Moonbird Book Reviews
The whole Bid Wide Calm songwriting and production processes were very interesting with the intimacy and emotional involvement between songwriter’s which made it cool to experience. The preparation (full carafe of coffee) the position (legs crossed on the floor) and even the writing methods (cursive, landscape not portrait) were intriguing relating to the whole creative process. The drive, the ambition, the paths a determined musician must take to achieve her dream was also very inspirational (getting everything handed to you wouldn’t make for an interesting story now would it?). ––Blindblottyandcajole.com
The Big Wide Calm. Marcello's novel has a lot going for it. Well-written, thought-provoking, and filled with flawed characters, it meets all the basic requirements for best-of-show in the literary fiction category. ––The US Review of Books
In The Big Wide Calm, Rich Marcello captures a unique voice in the character of Paige Plant, who is intriguingly attractive in the most bizarre way possible. Named after Led Zeppelin members, twenty-something Paige is the kind of YA protagonist that puts others to shame. She is reminiscent of some of the most memorable protagonists in other bildungsroman novels—Alaska Young from Green’s Looking for Alaska, Holden Caulfield from Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Hazel Grace Lancaster from Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Josephine March from Alcott’s Little Women. You will root for her from the very beginning, get excited with her in her journey, hope with her that the recording goes well, and share the butterflies in her stomach as she realizes that she’s getting closer to her dreams. ––Bookbeast
I loved Marcello’s The Big Wide Calm, which I read first, so I appreciate reading a lot of poetry and music again in The Color of Home. I think this strategy makes his books unique from its contemporaries and stands out from modern fiction overall. It’s like paying for one thing but getting two additional stuff for free. As always, another winning book from Rich Marcello. ––Bookbeast