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The Shock of the Fall [Paperback]

Nathan Filer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,184 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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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 (1,184 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35 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
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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10 of 11 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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136 of 154 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect novel 28 Aug 2014
By Mrs. K.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I apologize straight from the start if what I am about to say has already been said by the other five-star reviewers here; but The Shock of the Fall is such an extraordinary book, it deserves as many stars as it can get.

Nathan Filer has, quite simply, written the perfect novel. This is an absolutely superb book, everything about it is exquisite: the plot with its twists and turns, the characterization, the suspense (the book is about grief, the descent into madness, guilt, confusion, love-hate family relationships, tragic but unavoidable misunderstandings, isolation and alienation . . . and yet a page-turner at the same time. That in itself is a fantastic achievement already!); and then, there is the writing itself.

Ah, the writing. This novel is so amazing, so beautifully written and it sneaks up on you, what with the writer being so completely unpretentious at the same time. No 'rosy fingers of dawn' here, no pointless paragraphs, characters, happenings - and this is why I consider it perfect. Not a single word in it is superfluous; everything is crisp, tight, elegant in its simplicity which nevertheless must have taken an enormous amount of work to achieve. Hugely important and often harrowing scenes, intense emotions, the whole tragedy of human life are rendered in incredibly laconic sentences which pack such a punch, you can't help but be impressed even as you weep. We, the readers, are given just about enough to figure out shock and horror, pain, bereavement, feelings of helplessness and alienation, all by ourselves. This is 'show not tell' at its best. One has the impression The Shock of the Fall might have started as a 900-page manuscript and, through painstaking re-writes and skilful editing, has become the highly polished gem it is now.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Just read it!
I adored this book! It's so touching, you really feel for the main character and his family, very well written, can't wait for more from this author!
Published 8 hours ago by Mrs Amy Garnett
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautiful narrative - an impressive debut.
Published 11 hours ago by Dr. R. P. O'Brien
3.0 out of 5 stars Passed some time
The author is obviously knowledgeable about mental health issues and I did keep reading to the end. However I do not understand why this is an award winning book. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Hetty
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant thank you!
Published 3 days ago by Simon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Absolutely fantastic. Read it in a day on holiday, couldn't put it down.
Published 3 days ago by Yosh
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Such a wonderful insight into how easy it is to lose contact with reality and how difficult that can be to accept.
Published 3 days ago by J
4.0 out of 5 stars a wonderfully different perspective
Addictive and very interesting. Tough and often heartbreaking subject matter but they didn't make for a depressing read. Expect smiles, laughs and a few tears.
Published 3 days ago by Kerry WLler
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, powerful & brilliant
The Shock of the Fall is a brilliant novel, covering the subjects of mental illness & grief. The way the book is written, with the main character physically writing his own story... Read more
Published 4 days ago by RENotts
5.0 out of 5 stars a fantastic read
I could not put this book down. Tragic, uplifting, inspiring all at the same time. Makes me want to join a creative writing course. Excellent
Published 4 days ago by P. Heery
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
A beautifully crafted story that made me think about my relationship with my own children. It was hard saying goodbye to the characters when the story ended.
Published 5 days ago by R Titheradge
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