Published: 7th January 2014
Publisher: The Borough Press
Genre: Fiction – Adult Contemporary
Synopsis taken from Amazon:
*WINNER OF THE COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR 2013*
‘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.
Overall, I found this to be a good, interesting and informative read. The novel deals with mental health and grief, depicting Matthew’s battle to overcome his demons, whilst coming to terms with the death of his brother during childhood. The circumstances surrounding Simon’s death are uncertain, we know that something tragic happens but it is not until the end of the novel that we find out exactly what and how. Filer builds up great suspense here, you are left guessing throughout – I was gripped from the start.
I felt like I got to know Matthew well, as much as the novel allows. It was a very personal insight, nothing was really held back – a very honest account. You grow to hope that he gets the help he so clearly needs.
I enjoyed the flashback style of the novel, flitting back and forth between past and present. The inclusion of pictures, sketches and pieces of text written on Matthew’s typewriter add another dimension. The Shock of the Fall is beautifully written, the prose is seamless. It encompasses many different themes – mental illness, death, grief.
The experience the author gained is apparent throughout this novel. He does not idealise mental health patients or staff, he shows that people have good and bad days – I found this rather refreshing.
An informative read – sensitive and beautifully written.