4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The perfect novel,
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This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (Paperback)
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.
Perhaps it's best if I follow Filer's lead and end my review now, I am running out of superlatives anyway, and I have already said 'exquisite'. So, in conclusion, I warmly advise you to read this book, and pay attention from the very start. It is a thing of beauty even though a happy read it ain't. (Personally I am baffled by the reviews, here on Amazon and by professional critics + blurbs on the book itself, which claim this novel is funny! I found not a single funny moment in it, but then again, I am an exceedingly sensitive soul.) This book will break your heart but it will make you think . . . it's wonderful in every way.