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cook*create*read: Review: The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Review: The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

Publisher:  The Borough Press (Harper Collins) (2014)

First Published:  2013

From Goodreads:
‘I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’

There are books you can’t stop reading, which keep you up all night.

There are books which let us into the hidden parts of life and make them vividly real.

There are books which, because of the sheer skill with which every word is chosen, linger in your mind for days.

The Shock of the Fall is all of these books.

The Shock of the Fall is an extraordinary portrait of one man’s descent into mental illness. It is a brave and groundbreaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction.


This book had been sitting on my shelf for quite a few months before I finally got round to reading it.  There was a lot of hype surrounding it when it won the Costa Book Award, and I was reluctant to read it for fear of being let down.  Thankfully, my fears were unfounded.

The story follows the life of Matthew, a man who suffers from schizophrenia following the death of his brother, which he may or may not have had a hand in.  I really enjoyed the use of  different fonts, letters and drawings throughout the book - I think this gave the book a disjointed and confusing feel which reflected the state of Matthew's mind wonderfully.  Along with this, the book flips backwards and forwards between the past and the present as Matthew remembers what happened to his brother.  

Although this book deals with some serious issues - grief, death, guilt, mental ill health - it does so in such a sensitive and realistic way, and still manages to remain ultimately uplifting and wonderful.  This is a story that will stay in my mind for a long time to come.

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