Wednesday, May 7, 2014

G307 Book Review of Fallout by Sadie Jones

Name of Book: Fallout

Author: Sadie Jones

ISBN: 978-0-06-229281-0

Publisher: HarperCollins

Type of book: Theater, 1961-1975, mental illness, writing, talent, friendship, love, two love triangles, marriage for convenience, escape, London, New York, playwright, betrayal, fame, fortune

Year it was published: 2014


Sadie Jones, the award winning, bestselling author of The Uninvited Guests and The Outcast, explores the theater of love, the politics of theater, and the love of writing in Fallout-a deeply romantic story about a young playwright in 1970s London

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.


Basically there are four main characters: one is of Lucasz (Luke) Kanowski who has a mentally ill mother and a father who happens to be in denial or forgetfulness about his wife. Luke is very close to his mother and often wants to help her run away from where she's at. He is talented, and afraid of going against what he knows when it comes to relationships. He is also a talented writer and is extremely promiscuous. The next character is Nina Jacobs who is a talented actress. She is very obedient, afraid of going against her mother, and she ends up marrying Tony who had an affair with her mother before marrying her. Nina is looking for an escape and she is trying to cope with the cards life dealt her. The other character is Paul who is Luke's friend. Paul is a theater director and for a while the two are close to one another. Paul seems to be sort of opposite of Luke, at least in terms of relationships, and he seems to have father issues instead of mother issues. Leigh is revealed as Jewish and she seems to be a theater version of "Renaissance" man. I think both Luke and Paul tend to use her and not until the very end do her creative talents get the stage. There are other interesting characters as well, but they don't play at a center stage as those four.


Through twists and turns life is a journey


The book is written in third person narrative from Luke's, Nina's and Paul's point of view. I read a short half of Doctor Zhivago before realizing that I couldn't stomach reading a formerly Jewish author who spoke negatively about the Judaism in the book. From what I read about Doctor Zhivago, there is a strange reminiscence of Luke and Nina being almost like the main characters from Doctor Zhivago, although I liked the unpredictability the relationship faced. But still, I don't think I really understood the very beginnings and how they exactly related to one another, or connected towards the end. I also would have liked for Luke and another girl to be given more time spent together.

Author Information:

Sadie JonesAbout Sadie Jones

Sadie Jones is the author of The Outcast, a winner of the Costa First Novel Award in Great Britain and a finalist for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction; the novel Small Wars; and the bestselling novel The Uninvited Guests. She lives in London.


I do admit that I enjoyed the writing style a great deal, as well as the potential that the story held. When I was a teenager, I kept hoping to be an actress, but I was never given a chance, unfortunately. I did study theater a little, and I enjoyed re-learning that the '70s and '60s had, well, bizarre plays. (I recall learning back then that there was play in the past where actors literally peed on the audience members, and this book reminded me of that tidbit.) Despite the engaging writing, I think I had some difficulties in relating to the characters or even grasping their personalities. Some of it seemed forced for me instead of something that flowed smoothly, relationships in particular.  Although I sort of know the attitudes towards Jews back then, I still didn't appreciate that it sounded negative or undesirable.

Sadie’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, April 29th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, April 30th: missris
Thursday, May 1st: Jo-Jo Loves to Read!
Monday, May 5th: Books on the Table
Tuesday, May 6th: Olduvai Reads
Wednesday, May 7th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, May 8th: Read Lately
Monday, May 12th: five borough book review
Tuesday, May 13th: Chaotic Compendium
Wednesday, May 14th: Bibliotica
Thursday, May 15th: The Road to Here
Monday, May 19th: A Book Geek
Friday, May 23rd: Books à la Mode
Monday, May 26th: Bibliophiliac
Thursday, May 29th: Giraffe Days
Friday, May 30th: Books and Movies

This is for TLC Book Tour

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I had no idea about the bizarre plays of the 1960s-70s. That one you mentioned is crazy!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.


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