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The Shock of the Fall Paperback – 7 Jan 2014

1,970 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The Borough Press (7 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000749145X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007491452
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,970 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 810 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.

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

82 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 28 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
For once this is a novel which justifies the publisher's hyperbolic claims - it really is terrific. I found it utterly engrossing, readable, funny, enlightening and very moving.

This is the story of Matthew, a young man who suffers from schizophrenia. It is narrated by Matthew himself and one of the most striking things about the book is the brilliant authenticity of his narrative voice. I am no expert on schizophrenia, but to this layman it felt and sounded utterly convincing, shifting in tone according to his medication and whether he is taking it, capturing things like Matthew's anger, wit, bitterness and sadness with remarkable vividness and painting an unforgettable picture of the things which happen to him. It took me right inside that young man's head and gave me a wholly believable picture and understanding of what he is going through and why he behaves as he does.

The story is superbly told. The structure is fragmented as Matthew writes in various places and states of mind and we get his history woven into descriptions of what is going on as he writes. Again, this is excellently done and really adds to the feel and sense of the book rather than just being a novelistic trick. Other characters and places are brilliantly painted and he captures (and sometimes excoriates) the language and types of speech of others (especially medical staff) extremely well. I found the whole thing compelling in that way where I felt very glad to have half an hour free to read some more.

I think there's always a worry with a book like this that it is using a Big Subject and a Clever Narrative Voice to market a mediocre novel. This does nothing of the kind: it avoids mawkishness, it is never sentimental and it treats its subject with respect even when being very funny about it.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amy Wilson on 1 Jun. 2015
Format: Paperback
I read this a while back last year, however, I'm still raving about it. What a beautifully written, evocative and emotional story.
It's narrated by Matthew, the main character of the book who suffers from a mental illness. Tragedy strikes in his family at an early age, and this is the story of his struggle to overcome the guilt and loss he has been living with ever since his brother died.
Filer writes this novel in such a way that you cannot help become emotionally entwined with the story and indeed it's characters - they made me laugh, angry, sad and were at times, very thought-provoking.

Being a Psychology student, I cannot fault the account given by Filer about Matthew's struggle with Schizophrenia (of course, each sufferer has their own account of what it's like to have a mental illness), however, I felt like it was very accurately written and sensitively dealt with.

All in all, and in my own opinion, of course, this book is absolutely faultless. The mystery of how his brother died (which isn't revealed until nearer the end of the novel) absolutely grips you and doesn't let go. Each character is so raw and real you cannot help but empathize with each and every one of them. I couldn't put this book down.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Scott on 22 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved The Shock of the Fall. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and will stay with me for a long time. Filer offers one of those rare novels that makes you fall in love with the characters, the world and the story. This novel reached deep inside my chest and squeezed my heart so hard I could hardly breathe. The Shock of the Fall is a brave novel written in the first person by someone who is diagnosed as schizophrenic as a teenager, telling the story of how their down’s syndrome brother died when he was 8 years old and how the grief affected him and his parents. I loved Matthew’s voice and how real and heart-breaking it was at times. I love the different styles used in the novel (i.e. using a different font or a hand-written letter) to show Matthew’s mental state at different points in his recovery. I love it when writers use characters who are mentally ill or have a condition like down’s syndrome. These often make the best books because they force the reader out of their comfort zone and such books stand out from the millions published every year. I finished The Shock of the Fall at work, sitting in the canteen and crying like a baby, grateful it was Sunday and there was nobody else around. The Shock of the Fall is breath-taking and I can’t wait to see what Filer writes next.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By sally tarbox TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback
I started reading this morning...and just read and read all day till I finished (300 pages but quite quick reading.)
It's narrated by teenage Matt as he looks back on his childhood and the death of his Downs Syndrome brother (we're kept waiting till the end to find out the details on that one).
As Matt leaves school (and his grief stricken mother) and begins sharing a flat and using drugs, his brother starts to take over his thoughts...

"There is weather and there is climate.
If it rains outside, or if you stab a classmate's shoulder with a compass needle, over and over, until his white cotton school shirt looks like blotting paper, that is the weather.
But if you live in a place where it is often likely to rain, or your perception falters and dislocates so that you retreat, suspicious and afraid of those closest to you, that is the climate."

A compelling read and an insight on how it may feel to have schizophrenia...the side-effects of the medication, that cause sufferers not to take it and life in the mental health system.
I did fear it was about to have an unrealistic, 'happy ever after' ending, but Mr Filer keeps things realistic.
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