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The Shock of the Fall Paperback – 7 Jan 2014

1,633 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 (1,633 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 158 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

Review

‘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’
OBSERVER MAGAZINE

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

‘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

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 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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8 of 8 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Foy on 4 July 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is about mental illness, loss, and the unending grief that goes with that loss. Dark and difficult subjects. And yet this book never descends into a depressive story. It is sad and sometimes scary-how easy it is to slip over the edge. But it is also funny, touching and strangely uplifting.

Matthew Homes is the protagonist who narrates the book. The story begins just before his brother is killed (this is not a spoiler, it is in the blurb on the back of the book) and charts his descent into madness (schizophrenia).

Through Matthew we see how this also affects his family, especially his mother who has already lost one son and can barely stand the weight of her grief.

The author gives Matthew such a strong voice that he is in your head and you really feel you know him and, even better, you empathise with him. This book makes you a better person.

His relationship with his Nanny is brilliant, she has already had experience of mental health problems with another member of the family and she comes across so well having plenty of idiosyncrasies herself.

Nathan Filer does such a good job of bringing Matthew to life and the humour that runs through the book is wonderful. One of my favourite moments is when Denise, his care co-ordinator, visits and finds him drinking alcohol:
'"Really Matt," she says.
"You're your own worst enemy."
That's a strange thing to say
To someone with a serious
mental disease. Ofcourse I'm
My own worst enemy. '

I would highly recommend this book, it has great characters, a good story and is thought- provoking.
****
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189 of 210 people found the following review helpful By Welsh Annie TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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