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The Shock of the Fall [Paperback]

Nathan Filer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,158 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Jan 2014


‘I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’

There are books you can’t stop reading, which keep you up all night.

There are books which let us into the hidden parts of life and make them vividly real.

There are books which, because of the sheer skill with which every word is chosen, linger in your mind for days.

The Shock of the Fall is all of these books.

The Shock of the Fall is an extraordinary portrait of one man’s descent into mental illness. It is a brave and groundbreaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The Borough Press (7 Jan 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 000749145X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007491452
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nathan Filer is a writer and lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. He has worked as a researcher in the academic unit of psychiatry at the University of Bristol and as a mental health nurse on in-patient wards. He has written for television and radio. The Shock of the Fall is his first novel (published in the US as Where The Moon Isn't).

Product Description


‘Exceptionally moving without being sentimental – we're very much hoping there will be more from this writer… astonishingly sure-footed…’ Rose Tremain

‘A gripping, exhilarating read… passages that have a sort of simple poetry’ GUARDIAN

‘Authentic, funny and hauntingly sad’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘The simple prose is spot-on as the plain, honest voice of a teenager…smart eye for human foibles…a poignant, moving story that well deserves its Costa win’ INDEPENDENT

‘A stunning novel. Ambitious and exquisitely realised, it's by turns shocking, harrowing and heartrending. The writing is so accomplished it's hard to believe it's a debut – it's clearly the work of a major new talent' S J Watson

‘Nathan Filer is following in the footsteps of Mark Haddon’s genre-setting The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. Both funny and painful… you’re going to love it’ DAILY MAIL

‘Bittersweet and wonderfully etched…perceptive and moving’ DAILY TELEGRAPH

‘Utterly convincing… great craft’ EVENING STANDARD

‘A deeply moving (but also funny) first novel’ Kate Saunders THE TIMES

‘I found it dark, touching, sweet and funny and beautifully written…one of the best books about mental illness.’ Jo Brand

‘Poignant, funny and harrowing’ DAILY EXPRESS

‘A compelling story of grief, madness and loss. Filer has an ear for the dark comedy of life, and Matthew is a charismatic lead character who draws you in even as his world falls apart’

‘A tragic and comic account of living with schizophrenia. A must for fans of Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook’

‘A stunning debut – sad, poignant, real and very very readable. For a first time novelist, Filer has an impressive grasp of complex narrative, and a character we can all care about’ Stella Duffy, author of The Room of Lost Thing

‘A terrific debut: engaging, funny and inventive’ Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine

About the Author

Nathan Filer is a registered mental health nurse. He is also a performance poet, contributing regularly to literary events across the UK. His work has been broadcast on television and radio. The Shock of the Fall is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional. Subtle and sensitive. 15 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Shock of the Fall is the best book I have read this year (I read at least one novel a week); it's also the first book I've read in one sitting and the first one that's made me cry this year. Essentially the story is about the death of Simon, a young teenager with Down Syndrome and the way that his family copes (and doesn't cope) after the accident. The parents don't talk about it, nor does the loveable granny, but we see through the eyes of the younger son, Matthew, how it affects them all. Inwardly, each family member blames him or herself. But no one suffers as much as the younger son. At first, you can't be sure what is happening to the younger son. You know that something isn't right, and gradually it becomes clear that he is suffering from schizophrenia. His brother Simon lives on in his mind, until he becomes another character, leaving and breathing the same space as him. The author Filey is in fact a mental health nurse, which is why he is able to tell a story like this so sensitively and make it so realistic. Even the ending is uplifting in its own way. I suspect that if I had known I was going to read about a teenager's descent into mental illness, I might not have chosen it, but don't let the subject matter put you off. The novel is so perfectly nuanced, told with subtle humor (in the style of "Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), and with enough suspense, you want to keep reading. In my case, I did. And it was well worth it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning.. 15 Feb 2014
By Mel R
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was totally gripped by this book from page 1. The story seems simple...a journey through mental illness..sounds dire?? Not at all!! The writers style is beautiful, full of pathos and humour and pithy philosophical insights. Lots of quotes to highlight. Recommended without reservation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Psychologically Engaging 10 Aug 2014
By Gemma
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story was rather emotionally engaging, meaning that I couldn't put it down at times. Other times the story actually disturbed me, and I felt a little bit swamped in the mind of the narrator. I suppose this is a good thing, seeing as you start to feel very involved in the story.
The novel is filled with ups and downs, and leaves you feeling a bit peculiar. That said, this book is a worthwhile read! If you enjoy psychology, this fictional novel provides an insight into the struggles of someone who suffers with schizophrenia, and is quite interesting in a fictional kind of way. Overall, I did enjoy it and believe this is very well written. And I have a BA in Creative Writing so can sniff out a good novel!
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136 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 12 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When reading at the weekend, I have some rules - I can read before getting up, but must not sit down with it again until after lunch. With this wonderful book, I tore up the rulebook and read it in one glorious sitting.

I was absolutely fascinated by this story narrated by Matthew Homes, a teenager suffering with mental illness in the wake of the sudden death of his brother Simon. For a difficult read in terms of subject matter, this is an easy and flowing read - a strange comment maybe, with the fragmented time frame, the different typefaces, and the dips into and out of Matt's mental illness, but it was all accomplished so effortlessly. There are lovely touches of humour, acute observations about life and human behaviour, and a set of exceptionally well drawn subsidiary characters.

I particularly liked Matt's parents - the tableau presented of them sitting as a family watching Eastenders, the father's awkwardness with his "mon ami" greeting and secret handshake, and the mother's attempts at home schooling after Simon's death (where Matt was forced to make deliberate mistakes to get her attention). His grandmother, Nanny Noo, is also a wonderful creation - calling at Matt's every other Thursday, cooking pasta bake, smoking one of her menthol cigarettes from the kitchen drawer, and already familiar with mental illness elsewhere in the family. I also loved the use of letters - Denise's attempts to get Matt to attend his medical appointments, and particularly the wonderful invitations.

It's hard to believe this is a first novel, so accomplished is the writing - but from hearing the author interviewed on Simon Mayo's Book Club, I know this book was a long time in the conception and writing, and that he continues to work as a mental health nurse. An incredibly moving read, and very highly recommended.
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76 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 25 July 2013
By Gizmo
I saw this book in a book review in a magazine and thought I'd give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading the novel.

It's striking and quirky, the novel is written from the point of view of the main character and it allows the reader to really see into the depths of his character and how he was able to spiral into mental illness. I thought the way that the author depicted this downturn into his character to make him end up in an mental unit was well expressed and clear. The guilt that he felt about his brothers death was touching and the way that the scenes after his death and how his family went on living were really sad and very realistic.

One of the reasons why I think it is so effective is that the author previously worked as a mental health nurse so he was able to impart specialised knowledge of dealing with people with mental illness and mental deterioration.

I loved this book and am so glad that I took a chance on it and would certainly recommend it to anyone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars I just couldn't like this. It was stressful
I just couldn't like this. It was stressful. Maybe it meant to be like that but Isis not enjoy reading it.
Published 39 minutes ago by Shelley Hayles
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it
Don't research the author or read the outline of the story, just read and enjoy. Sometimes it's nice not to see whats around the corner, so I'll not offer my subjective opinion.
Published 2 hours ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Confused
This book has confused me to no end, I'm still not sure what fits in where, but what I do know is that the writing is exceptional and the characters brilliantly portrayed but I... Read more
Published 20 hours ago by Clo
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
This is a mist read. Poetic verses by not in a dull, boring way. Poetic in a modern, teenage voice with touches of abrupt and carefree tone. Very good. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Suriya
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read
So sad but so true. We really believe in Matt. We get inside his head from the start and he has much to teach us.
Published 2 days ago by georgescott
4.0 out of 5 stars captivating
Brilliant book. Definitely worth a read.
Published 2 days ago by Shalana
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book which givbes a new sympathetic view of schizophrenia
An excellent book which givbes a new sympathetic view of schizophrenia. The subjecrt is a likeable chap and you want him to be happy. Read more
Published 2 days ago by F. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, bit like Curious Incident
This is very easy to read and such an interesting and engaging novel. The protagonist is flawed but you sympathise with him quickly and what he has been through. Read more
Published 2 days ago by MrsMalfoy
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of Empathy and Insight.
In my opinion this novel is spot on in describing daily life with schizophrenia. It was so perceptive that at times I found myself avoiding to read it but I actually mean this as a... Read more
Published 2 days ago by little-feet
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 2 days ago by Grace MacAskill
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