Where the Moon Isn't Hardcover – 5 Nov 2013
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"Original and affecting. Filer's ability to capture Matthew's voice shows a special talent."
--Heidi W. Durrow, "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Girl Who Fell from the Sky"""
""In the ruins of a family exploded by grief, a brilliant madman wrestles a narrative from his disintegrated life. What emerges is both quietly horrifying and surprisingly beautiful: a portrait of family love. Unsentimental, frank, and strange, Filer's narrator is the most likable nut since Kesey's 'Chief.' He's funny and sad and mad, and he brought me through smiles to tears and back. What moved me the most however was not the tragedy at the story's center, but the sketches Filer draws around the edges: the mother losing her grip from holding too tight, the father stalwartly supporting his sons, the girl who stands up for what she has lost. Memories can destroy or redeem you, depending on how you recreate them. Who better to teach this lesson than a lunatic? I can't stop talking about this book. Looking for a fantastic read, a few laughs and a good cry? You've found it. "Where The Moon Isn't" is a fresh smart book with a big daft heart." --Lydia Netzer, author of "Shine Shine Shine"""
" """""A terrific debut: engaging, funny and inventive." "-- Joe Dunthorne, author of "Submarine"""
"WHERE THE MOON ISN'T is a stunning novel. Ambitious and exquisitely realized, 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, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Before I Go to Sleep"
"A page-turner, tender and tragic, told in a vulnerable voice that steps in and out of madness. Vivid and haunting, I keep replaying this story in my mind, reliving it, long after having read the final page."
--Lisa Genova, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Still Alice" and "Love Anthony"
"I have become an evangelist for "Where the Moon Isn't." It won me heart and soul with it's crazy, wild, fine voice, its bravura, its ambition, its harrowing corners, and the dense rich tiny core of love at its glowing, radiant center. In Matthew's admittedly hard world, the tiniest kindnesses echo and amplify, returning to him larger and louder, until they each become glorious---huge bursts of such grace and truth that more than once, I had to stop reading and weep at the sheer hope-soaked beauty of it. I loved this book cover to cover and word by word; I want to give it to everyone I care for, and I want to keep it for myself to reread over and over. You will, too." --Joshilyn Jackson, "New York Times" bestselling author of "A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty"
"Original and affecting. Filer's ability to capture Matthew's voice shows a special talent." --Heidi W. Durrow, "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
"In the ruins of a family exploded by grief, a brilliant madman wrestles a narrative from his disintegrated life. What emerges is both quietly horrifying and surprisingly beautiful: a portrait of family love. Unsentimental, frank, and strange, Filer's narrator is the most likable nut since Kesey's 'Chief.' He's funny and sad and mad, and he brought me through smiles to tears and back. What moved me the mosty --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
About the Author
NATHAN FILER is a writer and a mental health nurse. He has worked as a researcher at the academic unit of psychiatry at the University of Bristol and on in-patient psychiatric wards. Filer graduated from the prestigious Bath Spa University creative writing program with an MA in 2011, and "Where the Moon Isn't" is his first novel. He lives with his family in Bristol. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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I cannot stress how much important I think this novel is. It deals with a myriad of topics, most notably mental illness, in a raw, honest way that readers won't soon forget. I was incredibly moved by Where the Moon Isn't... not just by Matthew and Simon's story, but by the stories of even the secondary characters. I can't talk about this book without my heart breaking and my eyes filling with tears because it's obvious that Filer has first hand experience with the issues he writes about in this book. My mother has spent most of her life working with for Community Mental Health of Michigan, so throughout my life I had the pleasure of meeting some of the most absolutely wonderful people who are saddled with mental and physical deficiencies. Filer gives these individuals a voice with Where the Moon Isn't. This book is a compelling mystery with engaging psychological elements, but, because of the author's heart and deft hand, it is also so much more.
While Where the Moon Isn't is technically adult fiction, it has definite crossover appeal. The main character, Matthew, is only nineteen and much of the novel focuses on his childhood.
The author works in the mental health service of the NHS. He is also, according to his website, a performance poet, of some note in the UK. Such a person as this must have a remarkable insight into the human mind, and also possess the gift to put it all into word pictures for the rest of us.
It was a real privilege to be let into the mind and soul of a schizophrenic young man who realises things aren't quite right, but seems determined to overcome the problems he is currently facing. Matthew is 19 years old and is narrating the story of the last 10 years of his life. It is 10 years since his brother, who was 12, died while the family was on holiday at a camping ground. His brother, Simon, had Downs Syndrome. The family was a close knit one, and Matthew describes his parents, his grandparents and his brother in loving and descriptive words. Simon's death, for which Matthew feels 100% responsible, affects everyone very, very deeply. His parents sink into their own awful grief, Matthew blames himself and as the years pass feels increasingly unable to cope with daily life due to this enormous burden he carries around with him. His grandmother, Nanny Noo, is the one constant in his life, always there, always compassionate - the one really significant adult in his life.
The one thing Matthew never loses during these years is his ability to write down what he is going through and this becomes the one therapy that helps him get through a trauma that just won't let him go. The narration covers the 10 years from the day of the death to the present, but jumps around a bit during the years of this time period, which does take a little concentration, as he seems, to me, to be in and out of hospital quite a bit! His descriptions of hospital routine, and his unbelievably dull, boring and most awful time there would bring out a cry for help in anyone. You know then that you are reading the words of an author who knows what he is talking about.
I don't normally go for books like this. But it had received good reviews, and of course a first novel award. Many of reviews on Amazon and Good Reads are 5 star - very high praise. It seems a lot of these readers have either had experience of some sort of mental health issue themselves, or been close to those who have. I didn't get quite the same feeling of stunning and awesome from this book, but certainly feel as if my own mind has been opened more to what a mental health illness would be like.
Published in the US as "Where the Moon Isn't", apparently with some edits from the original which was pubished in the UK as "The Shock of the Fall".
I found the book to be great in certain aspects (things I've mentioned previously), but there were also some things that I had trouble with at first. Even though I came to love the writing of the author, it took me a couple chapters to really get into the story and understand the writing. But once I understood the writing I really came to love it. Also, I at times through the story, I got a bit bored, but that did not stop me from wanting to read the story. It had its slow moments, but even with the slow moments we learned information about Matthew that helped to get to know him. The way Matthew thought he could bring his brother back was really interesting, but it was also confusing at times. But I understand what the basic concept of his was. By the end of the book, I was really rooting for Matthew to finally come to terms with the death of his brother and to figure out how he would continue on with his life. But like I said, Matthew has a mental illness, so his life is not an easy one to live to understand.
I received a copy for review. All thoughts are my honest opinion!
My reservation concerning the ultimate premise of the novel has to do with a specific identified cause for the young man's illness. I don't believe that is true or as simple in real life.