A TECHNOLOGY EXECUTIVE CHARTS A HIGH-RISK, UNCONVENTIONAL PATH WHILE GRIEVING THE LOSS OF HIS SON
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 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. He then recruits three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change.
Guided by Dan’s 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?
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What the critics are saying about The Beauty of the Fall:
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
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
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
”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
About the Author
Rich is a poet, a 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 Beauty of the Fall. 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.