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The Shock of the Fall Paperback – 7 Jan 2014


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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 (1,444 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42 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

178 of 199 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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90 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Gizmo on 25 July 2013
Format: Hardcover
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elle B on 30 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Shock of the Fall was a fast-paced, interesting look at a family tragedy and it's repercussions through the eyes of mental illness. Whilst it was an insight into a chaotic and troubled mind of the young narrator Matthew, the story itself didn't have much intreague or compexity. I thought it was a good read but not amazing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hick on 28 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent insight into an individual's struggles with mental health issues underscored by a mystery plot worked backwards. Clearly written by someone with close dealings with the issues surrounding modern mental health care, it doesn't pull any punches. I likes the creative use of fonts to create and sustain mood.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Berlinska on 3 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I tried real hard to like it better than I did. The narrative was somewhat confusing and I 'lost the plot' half way through, not sure which events preceded which (except for the obvious). This however, was not the book's greatest weakness; the main character, Matthew, is unconvincing and so is his illness. We actually get to know him very little and I feel there was a big blank gap between his brother dying and him ending up in the mental care. The years of withdrawal from school and the school years, which one would have thought should be crucial to portrait the birth of his schizophrenia, lack in depth and intensity of emotions. The figure of Matthew's mother, truly disturbed character, is regretfully only sketched with a very thick pencil while it seems she, and her overwhelming distress, had a significant influence on Matthew. Not to mention that she and her mental condition could have been a story in its own right! There were nice passages here and there (and descriptions from the author's own experience), touching the very nerve of the illness as seen through Matthew's eyes but overall not enough to truly feel and live the story, which I guess was the author's intention. I wanted to engage but the connection just did not happen. Oliver Sack's 'The man who mistook his wife for a hat' was way more insightful!
(And what's Annabelle's role in the book?)
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mel R on 15 Feb. 2014
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By What Cathy Read on 25 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback
When hubby and I were renovating the money pit we now call home we got to know a fair few local tradesmen. A year later we bought an investment flat and mostly asked the same tradesmen back again. In the meantime one of their wives had self-immolated. Even typing it gives me goose bumps. There I am, standing in a soon-to-be-kitchen, while a man I barely know tells me how one evening he was watching tv with his wife, their two kids tucked up in bed, when she says she thinks she’ll go for a walk (she’s been stuck at home with the kids all day). She walks to a petrol station, buys a can of petrol and a box of matches (you’re not committing hari-kari are you love, jokes the attendant); then walks across the railway track to waste-ground, douses herself with petrol, and strikes a match – so the police tell him later that evening. His wife was schizophrenic and (secretly) had stopped taking her medication.

Why would anyone choose to kill themselves in such a horrific way? I can’t even begin to imagine what was going through her mind; how a schizophrenic might think.

Nathan Filer, on the other hand, can imagine it (though as a registered mental health nurse, he has a professional advantage). The Shock of the Fall, his debut novel and winner of the Costa Book of the Year in 2011, is narrated by Matthew Homes, a teenage schizophrenic who communes with his dead brother, Simon.

The book explores issues of grief and mental health, and Filer sets out his stall from the start: Matt’s self-loathing, Simon’s continuing presence. “I should say that I am not a nice person,” is the opening line, and a few pages later of Simon that, “in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.”

But this is more than an ‘issues’ novel.
Read more ›
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