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161 of 181 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
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...
Published 19 months ago by Welsh Annie

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clearly well written but very, very sad
I think the title says it all - the story is well constructed and very well written and so it flows well to create a compelling read. However, the subject matter (mental illness and its wider effect on a family) is heartbreaking. Not one to read if you're already down in the dumps - although it may make you reflect on your relative blessings.
Published 10 months ago by acb


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161 of 181 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 12 May 2013
By 
Welsh Annie (Wetherby) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (Hardcover)
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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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86 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 25 July 2013
This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (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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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning.., 15 Feb 2014
By 
Mel R "MAR" (Gloucestershire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (Kindle Edition)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 9 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (Paperback)
I didn't expect a book like this to be so good, really absorbing and strangely life affirming, definitely worth a read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend!, 12 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (Kindle Edition)
This book is gripping from the start to the end, very well written with a lovely story. The ending is great also.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clearly well written but very, very sad, 25 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (Kindle Edition)
I think the title says it all - the story is well constructed and very well written and so it flows well to create a compelling read. However, the subject matter (mental illness and its wider effect on a family) is heartbreaking. Not one to read if you're already down in the dumps - although it may make you reflect on your relative blessings.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, 30 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (Kindle Edition)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curious Dog for grown ups, 28 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (Kindle Edition)
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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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous debut, 12 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (Hardcover)
I was given this book by a friend, read it in two days - couldn't put it down.
The way Filer writes is mesmerizing, drawing you into Mathew s dark world. As someone who has been a 'service user' in I found his descriptions of secure units very accurate.
Well worth a read, we done Nathan - what a fabulous debut, can't wait for more.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 25 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (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. The reader is drawn into Matt’s world. The first person narration is important, of course, because we experience everything directly from Matt’s perspective. And there’s the central premise of the novel, which is that Matt is physically typing the story, a premise/process complemented by the novel’s graphical layout: a change of location signalled by a change of font; traditional typeface interweaved with ‘handwriting’ and images; and ‘distractions’ in the form of hospital letters and definitions of medical conditions.

By the end we have come to understand Matt. We understand how he can “get used to having Simon around. It takes time to adjust, and time to adjust when he’s gone,” we understand the story is not “a keepsake” so much as his way of “finding a way to let go;” most of all we understand that we “don’t know the ending” to the story – Matt’s story – because for him “it’s a beginning.”

For more reviews visit whatcathyread.wordpress.com
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The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
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