It's good. Very assured debut. Powerful and very real voice.
Unfortunately for me though, I've read a number of books in the last year narrated by people with unique points of view (such as mental illness), so I don't think I was as affected by Matthew as I might otherwise have been.
I did still find Filer's writing strong and confident for a first novel, and did want to know what would happen to the man speaking to me through the book.
We know from the offset that Matthew's brother died as a child and that he feels responsible. It takes more than three quarters of the book to find out what happened, with insights into Matthew's adulthood and frequent tussles with his schizophrenia along the way. I found Matthew's daily life very interesting, his relationship with his grandmother touching, and comments on social care illuminating. I wasn't very shocked or moved by the revelations into Simon's death, rather anticlimactic actually, but Filer's ending was moving while leaving the reader wanting more.
It's lovely when a debut writer receives accolades and awards over seasoned novelists, getting more names into the public eye. And Filer covers an important area that deserves more recognition and discussion.
Lots to learn and technique to admire in this debut Costa-winner.
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