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3.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  530 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
In the tradition of "A Separate Piece, "a masterpiece of adolescent perspective, emotion, impulse, and relationships: the riveting story of two male roommates at a co-ed boarding school and what happens when the girlfriend of one of them goes missing during their final year.
From an internationally acclaimed, prizewinning author, whom critics have compared to Dave Eggers
ebook, 368 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Riverhead Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,292)
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Apr 23, 2009 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
I got an advanced review copy of this from It's ostensibly a boarding school story. Rich, popular & privileged Julius is dating Fall (short for Fallon) the prettiest girl in the boarding school. Noel, a misfit with violent tendencies, becomes his roommate & is thrilled to be accepted into the inner circle & more & more obsessed with Fall. When Fall disappears, the true nature of these relationships and people are revealed.

On a deeper level this book is an explorati
Jen Sookfong Lee
Jun 25, 2009 Jen Sookfong Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge fan of his first novel, Some Great Thing, for many reasons--stylistic fearlessness, the visceral pulse of the narrative, the two main characters who are inverse images of each other. Fall (for which I've been waiting for six years) doesn't disappoint. Like Some Great Thing, it's extraordinary in how it adheres to yet also subverts what we think of as storytelling. And the main character, Noel, vibrates off the page with a strangely rootless rage (I'm impressed with how McAdam resists ...more
Laura Lulu
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Ben Babcock
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May 02, 2009 Coco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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It's always nice to read a Canadian author, and this one has a more storied pedigree having been shortlisted for the Giller prize in 2009. This is the tale of 2 very different boys that through exegent circumstances become roommates at a highly prestigious boarding school in Ontario. One boy is handsome, popular and dating the most beautiful girl in school, while the other is a quiet loner who barely has any friends, and is secretly in love with his roommate's girlfriend. As the year progresses ...more
Jennifer D
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Leyla Y
Oct 28, 2011 Leyla Y rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strange as it seems, this book is not about the season of Autumn. The book is titled after one of the characters names. Fall, short for Fallon. Fall is the name of the girl that is mostly talked about in this book. Two roommates at a prep school share their stories about how their senior years are going. Julius is an athletic guy that happens to be dating the prettiest girl in school. As for Noel, he is the stereotypical intelligent one. Stereotypical as in, he’s an outsider. Both characters ar ...more
"Oh no," I groaned as I started this book. "More stream-of-consciousness. What am I doing to myself?" However, in this case it works. The author has three different voices, all male, all telling some parts of the story (and sometimes giving the same incident from different points of view, which is very illuminating). The most unsettling by far is the one that is lucid, articulate, and educated - Noel, a loner at the exclusive boarding school that forms the setting for most of the incidents in th ...more
Hmm, really wanted to love this book but alas it was a little too patchy and inconclusive to me..Fall (not Fall with the long A like synonym of autumn but Fall with a short A as in Fallon, a girls name) is the story of two roommates and their time in a prep school for boys. If this was the entire story, their relationship, their "boys will be boys" antics and how they grow emotionally and psychologically I would love love love this book however when the element of a girlfriend who goes missing, ...more
Feb 02, 2009 Mel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got an ARC of Fall at the ALA midwinter meeting. I originally picked it up because the back likens McAdam to Michael Ondaatje, who is, you know, my absolute favorite. But, like several remarks on the back cover, I disagree. Their writing styles are very disparate, and while McAdam's writing is good, it's not poetic the way most of Ondaatje's work is.

Furthermore, the back suggests that Julius, one of the character's whose pov we hear quite frequently, "cares only for fleeting joys", but I don'
Pete Marchetto
May 13, 2016 Pete Marchetto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fall needs getting into. At first, the voices of the two main protagonists seem to clash. Credulity is tested. They seem too polarised. Noel and Julius share a room in a boarding school. Noel is the analyst, highly intelligent, divorced from the human condition by his lack of empathy and his tendency to logical reductionism. Julius is the poet. He, too, is intelligent but his intelligence is oriented towards people. He is popular, mischievous, living in the moment, sensually taking from life wha ...more
Eric Klee
"Fall" is the story of a semi-love triangle between unpopular Noel, his popular roommate Julius, and Julius' popular girlfriend Fall (short for Fallon). The title is taken not only from Fallon's abbreviated name, but also the emotional fall of the two boys. The chapters jump around between past, present, and future. The story is told from three points of view: Noel, Julius, and -- somewhat randomly -- Julius' dad's driver, William. Noel's and William's chapters are written in normal text, but Ju ...more
Mar 11, 2015 Jordin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the worst written books I've ever read. I didn't even finish the book. Jumping between the different writing styles is confusing to understand the speaker, there's also a lot of nothing going on. I read almost the first hundred pages and literally nothing happened. All back story, no good love story, and no mystery. Both of which it claimed to be. Boring.
Gavin Stephenson-Jackman
An interesting insight into life in a private school. Noel and Julius are room mates in their senior year at an Ottawa boarding school. Noel is socially awkward after a lifetime of bullying about his lazy eye. He has bulked up over the summer with his parents in Australia in an effort to rid himself of his awkward reputation. Julius is the son of the U.S. ambassador and madly in love with Fall (Fallon). Fall is one of the few girls in residence at the school. She is lusted after by any number of ...more
Nov 17, 2014 Erika rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Found this so dull, almost gave up on it a few times, pushed through but don't know why I bothered... yawn
I finished reading Fall a few days ago and am still haunted by the story. It is set in an elite Canadian boarding school and centers on the relationships between three students in their final year. Julius, a golden boy, is the son of the American ambassador to Canada. Fallon, one of the few girls at the school, is his beautiful girlfriend. Noel, obsessively attracted to Fallon, is Julius' roommate.

Noel kills Fallon. I'm not giving away much of the plot here because this happens very early in the
Apr 26, 2009 Gilly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The book is told in the alternating voices of two boys in their senior year at an elite private high school. Julius is athletic, likeable, and dating the prettiest girl in school. Noel is an intelligent and occasionally explosive outsider. You can imagine this devolving into stereotyped characterizations, but their voices are absolutely individual. They say and do things that, while never in conflict with their personalities, are not narrowly designed to reveal “character.” They change (and fail ...more
Sep 30, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, a disclaimer. I love the book cover, the author's name, the book title, and the awesome photograph. On the back jacket, a quote from the Aryn Kyle (author of The God of Animals) praises the book. So, um, I was a little biased before I even started reading.[return][return]The adult novel mainly alternates between the voices of two teenage upperclassmen at an elite boarding school. Both are sons of ambassadors/diplomats and used to a privileged life. Julius is handsome, friendly, athlet ...more
When I first picked up this book I thought I was going to hate it! It's written in a very sparse style, no speech marks and no clear sign of who is saying what, it's all he/she said, which initially was rather irritating and confusing! Once I had learned to follow closely who was narrating/speaking, it got better though and I stuck with it.
The style and atmosphere of the book reminded me somewhat of The Cather in the Rye by JD Salinger, (although with a little more substance than that one I fel
Mike Iovinelli
Eh. That's all I can say..."eh." The back of the book makes the story seem so promising. But I was left wanting a little more. I found the style of writing a little annoying, especially Julius's character and his A.D.D. stream of conscious. Sometimes you're just reading to read and not really paying attention because his thoughts don't link together. I know that was the point, but I found it frustrating.
I also thought that the majority of the book was spent setting up who everyone was...a lot o
Steven Langdon
"Fall," another of the novels nominated for this 2009 Giller Prize, is a penetrating story, tracing the deeply disturbing triangle that somehow entangles three senior students in an elite private school (that is based very much on Ashbury College which the author attended.) Julius is the privileged son of the US Ambassador to Canada, Wink is the guarded, sometimes bullied room-mate who gradually insinuates himself more and more fully into a close relationship with Julius, and Fall (Fallon) is th ...more
Fall by Colin McAdam has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize this year (2009) and is the fourth of five nominees I have read. While I would not choose it as my favourite of the four (my choice would be The Disappeared by Kim Echlin), it certainly deserves to be shortlisted. The setting is Ashbury College, a primarily boys' private school in Rockcliffe Park in Ottawa (disguised by the author as St. Ebury in Sutton). The setting has particular interest for me since our house is a stone's throw a ...more
Apr 30, 2012 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 12, 2015 Zoe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interestingly enough, I was reminded of this book while listening to the radio today and hearing (for what I believe is the first time) Serena Ryder's song Fall. I read this book in Grade 10 (secondary 4) for a class and I actually ended up enjoying it. I couldn't decide between reading this and I Am the Messenger, so naturally, as the book lover that I am, I read both (and more). I remember enjoying this book all the while finding it confusing and at times strange. (view spoiler)
May 13, 2009 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I liked it because I like the genre -- prep school books (no, I never went). There are a lot of well-written stretches and McAdam truly understands boys and dorm life, from the grab-ass pranks to the subterranean desires and confusions.

I thought it was going to be straight-up sensitive drama à la Richard Yates A Good School, but it developed (devolved?) instead into a crime drama. The protagonist, Julian, is a charismatic athlete with a gorgeous girlfriend named Fall. Enter the dragon in
Feb 25, 2013 Carole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this novel is flawed, it is very intriguing. I would rather read a book by an author who is willing to take some risks, even if they are not all successful, than one that is conventional but plodding.

The story focuses on Noel and Julius, two students at a prep school outside of Ottawa and the dynamic between them is definitely reminiscent of the YA classic, "A Separate Peace", although with considerably more adult content. Fall (Fallon) is the girl that they are both in love with and i
May 13, 2013 Kathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 03, 2010 Jeanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: back-to-school
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May 19, 2009 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Fall is about two boarding-school roommates, one creepy and one popular and with a girlfriend. Can you imagine where this is headed? Yes, it turns out the creepy one, Noel, has a thing for Julius's girlfriend, who mysteriously "disappears" 2/3rds of the way through the book.

Anyway, it's not the plot that makes this book, it's the prose. McAdam pulls the Faulkner-like "from more than one first-person narrative" thing, but it's not as much of a guessing game as As I Lay Dying. Sometimes things th
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Colin McAdam was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Denmark, England and Barbados, as well as in several cities in Canada. He studied English and Classics at McGill University and the University of Toronto, and received his PhD in English Literature from Cambridge University in England.

He has written for Harper's Magazine and The Walrus. He lives in Montreal and has a son named Charlie who lives in
More about Colin McAdam...

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“In the closet, in my nest of human cloth, I dreamt of skinless people, a world of living meat, clinched in a wounded hug and finally understanding. We would truly feel the cold, we would truly know each other.” 3 likes
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