The Shock of the Fall Paperback – 7 Jan 2014
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‘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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
It's narrated by Matthew, the main character of the book who suffers from a mental illness. Tragedy strikes in his family at an early age, and this is the story of his struggle to overcome the guilt and loss he has been living with ever since his brother died.
Filer writes this novel in such a way that you cannot help become emotionally entwined with the story and indeed it's characters - they made me laugh, angry, sad and were at times, very thought-provoking.
Being a Psychology student, I cannot fault the account given by Filer about Matthew's struggle with Schizophrenia (of course, each sufferer has their own account of what it's like to have a mental illness), however, I felt like it was very accurately written and sensitively dealt with.
All in all, and in my own opinion, of course, this book is absolutely faultless. The mystery of how his brother died (which isn't revealed until nearer the end of the novel) absolutely grips you and doesn't let go. Each character is so raw and real you cannot help but empathize with each and every one of them. I couldn't put this book down.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A painfully poignant story that keeps you guessing to the end. It is a sad story, but also quite funny in places. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Alison C.
I loved this book and really felt every little feeling and detail about the characters. I can imagine this being made as a film or a play. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Ruth
It was okay, to be honest I was expecting more. I'm sure others will find it interesting though if you have a fascination with mental illness. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Leanne B.
I'm feeling tired today because I couldn't put the book down and haven't had enough sleep. I never expected to love a story about a schizophrenic as much as I did. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Alys Davies
This book had me in tears. I thought it would be the typical storyline that is very predictable and boring. I was so wrong. I loved it and I'm sure you will too.Published 20 days ago by Georgie Cooper
I often wondered where this book was taking me... In the end it made me cry. It's a book about loss and living. Read it.Published 21 days ago
Loved it. A lot. not saying anything more - don't want to risk any spoilers.Published 27 days ago by GSC