After the Fall: Book summary and reviews of After the Fall by Kylie Ladd

After the Fall

By Kylie Ladd

After the Fall
  • Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Jun 2010,
    304 pages.

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Book Summary

"That’s the thing about falling. It doesn’t go on indefinitely, and it rarely ends well..."

In her page-turning fiction debut, neuropsychologist Kylie Ladd delivers a searing portrait of two marriages united and betrayed by friendship.

"I had been married three years when I fell in love," begins Kate, a firecracker of a woman who thought she’d found the yin to her yang in Cary, her sensible and adoring husband.  For their friend Luke—a charismatic copywriter who loves women and attention in equal measure, and preferably together—life has been more than sweet beside Cressida, the dutiful pediatric oncologist who stole his heart.  But when a whimsical flirtation between Kate and Luke turns into something far more dangerous, the foursome will be irrevocably intertwined by more than just their shared history. 
 
After the Fall follows the origin and fallout of the most passionate of affairs through the eyes of all four characters, unveiling the misunderstandings and unspoken needs that lie beneath our search for love and connection.  The narrative moves effortlessly between past and present, painting a nostalgic picture of the two marriages at their most idealistic—the exact moment when like turned to love—and at their most volatile.  Thanks to the boundless compassion with which Ladd draws her characters, one can’t help but root for them as they wrestle between new found desire and remembrances of time past, all the while spinning toward an inevitable conclusion.
 
Steeped in psychological insight and raw emotion, After the Fall is an unsettling novel of the many ways we love and hurt each other.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Ladd takes on adultery and its consequences in this accomplished debut… The book is told from multiple perspectives, in lush, often beautiful prose. Vivid language makes each page a joy to read." - Kirkus Reviews

"Ladd can turn a phrase and spin a metaphor, but the characters are too thin to sustain sympathy." - Publishers Weekly

"After The Fall examines two marriages racing toward collision. Author Kylie Ladd, using precise and crystalline language, looks through each side of the prism, bringing forth all points of view with raw honesty. The reader will peek out between covered eyes as they watch these husbands and wives in denial singe the ones they love." - Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Murderer’s Daughters
   
"Told from the perspective of each person, the book has a deliciously voyeuristic feel that will have you hooked." -Cosmopolitan (Australian edition, book of the month)
   
"A subtle, moving and perceptive story of love, loss and hope." - Sydney Morning Herald

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Darcy C. (San Diego, CA)
Is Life Fair? Do We Get What We Really Want?
This story, told in the first-person viewpoint of the 4 main characters: Kate, married to Cary; Cressida married to Luke. Kate and Luke begin an affair with disastrous consequences (not a spoiler). It's the ending that is haunting. For days after finishing the book, I thought about life's “chances”. It's these “chances” (or are they choices?) that are so poignantly described in the conclusion. Did they all end up happy? Or did life's “chances” give them merely a glimpse of what they thought they wanted? It's a worthwhile read. Quite entertaining.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Judith W. (Brooklyn, NY)
Just OK.
While I mostly enjoyed this book, I would not rate it among the best as I don't think it says anything new about adultery or marriage or the human condition in general. The two main protagonists are not particularly likable or sympathetic - I think they both got their just deserts in the end. That said, it did keep one turning the pages to see how it all came out. It also took a while to get used to the hopping from one character to another chapter by chapter.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Erica M. (Chicago, IL)
After the Fall
After the Fall is a story of marriage and infidelity told in the separate voices of the participants and their closest friends. It is billed as “page turner” and I would agree that it is, as each character only has one to six pages to tell their perspective, before we move to another point of view.

Although I have not lived this story, I felt great empathy, having been on the fringe of the same emotions as some of these characters. The impulses and the responses, all rang true from beginning to end. Although there were few surprises, the behavior of each character being predictable, it did not make the book any less enjoyable.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Linda J. (Manchester, MO)
After the Fall
This is a story of infidelity that occurs between two couples, formerly good friends. Ladd uses the points of view from each of the four characters which moves the story along and allows readers to connect with the characters. The story evolves from the first meeting of each character to each other, how they met as couples, and follows them through the affair.

Each chapter belongs to a spouse, although Ladd does toss in a couple of friends for another POV, which gives more depth both to the main characters and the story.
More than the betrayal of a spouse, “After the Fall” tells of a friendship torn apart, and how far the remnants scatter.
However, I could not get past the feeling that these were some of the most narcissistic, shallow people I'd ever known, and I really didn't care what happened to them. If this was Ladd's intent, she succeeded.
“A month after Kate had broken my heart, it still felt unmended.” This is spoken by Kate’s husband, Cary. Anyone who has been in love knows that one month is a drop in the bucket.
After the Fall qualifies as a great summer read and a good first effort by Ladd.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Judy K. (Conroe, TX)
Great selection for a Book Club
At first, I thought I wouldn't like this book. The point of view keeps changing from one chapter to the next and it was disconcerting, irritating. I just wanted the author to tell the story, but I ended up enjoying it. I got to know each of the characters and the entire story, from each character's perspective, could only be told in this manner. The story was true to life, the emotions real, the characters presented, flaws and all. The ending will be fodder for book club discussions for hours. Everybody has an opinion on infidelity. Women who have experienced it from either side of the equation will recognize themselves in this book. Good read. Well done.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Janice M. (Holland, MI)
Sometimes the grass only looks greener . . . . .
When I started to read this book, I wasn't sure I would want to finish it - the story is about 2 couples and what happens when an affair begins and ends between two of the spouses. I loved how each chapter was told in the voice of one of the spouses or their mutual friend, Tim. It was a little tedious at first, but once you become acclimated to the writing style it flows nicely. The first half of the book was a little slow - getting to know each of the characters, but by the second half, I had a hard time putting the book down. All said, I think this is a great beach/vacation read.

...15 more reader reviews

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Kylie Ladd’s writings have appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Reader’s Digest, and the Sydney Morning Herald, among others. She holds a Ph.D. in neuropsychology and lives in Melbourne with her husband and two children. After the Fall is her first novel. She can be found online at www.kylieladd.com, which includes an excerpt from the book.

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