29 December 2014

Book Club: The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer


‘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.’

At the beginning of December my luck came in and I won a copy of The Shock of the Fall through the Harper Collins Instagram page. I'd been eyeing it up for ages and was planning to treat myself to a copy after Christmas, having been drawn in by the excellent reviews and ambiguous, intriguing summary on the back.

The Shock of the Fall is narrated by Matthew Homes who, haunted by the death of his elder brother when they were children, suffers with mental illness. Despite the dark themes and difficult subject matter, the novel is so easy to read; it's intriguing and engrossing right from the start. Buoyed along by some absolutely exquisite writing, I raced through it, Matthew guiding me through the tangles of his life and his mind, wrenched from laughter to tears at the turn of a page. (The line 'Of course he was in the flames' rendered me absolutely useless for reasons I'm not quite sure.)

Aside from the writing, the characters in the book are crafted with such pure love and it's impossible not to adore them. My copy of the novel has an interview with Filer and the way in which he talks about his creations is so lovely; it really feels that he adores each of them.
Matthew is one of the most incredible characters I have had the pleasure of meeting and is such a wonderful narrator. I was instantly drawn to him and his voice is so clear and wonderful that it was honestly difficult  to leave him behind in the pages of the book.
Aside from Matthew, all the other characters are so lovingly rendered and the entire family is just a joy to read about. Matthew's parents and Nanny Noo are so full of love and I loved spending time getting to know about each of them.

The novel's conclusion, with the Beavers and Brownies Hut full of memories, was so painfully beautiful that it was difficult to read (and not just because of the tears in my eyes) and turning the final page was bittersweet. I was so sad to say goodbye to Matthew but felt so happy to have been able to meet him.

I recommend The Shock of the Fall without hesitation or reservation. Wonderful characters, beautiful writing and a gripping plot combine to create a perfect novel; my only regret is that I didn't read it sooner.

Have you read The Shock of the Fall? What did you think?

You can buy The Shock of the Fall on the Book Depository here.
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1 comment:

  1. I might start following harper collins- the chance to win free books? yes please!

    I read this last year and although I admired a lot of things about it, I found it to be a bit underwhelming. It's strange because I'm fascinated by mental illness, and it seems to be very accurate about that and sympathetic to its main character but it just lacked something for me.
    I think it was partly because it had been so hyped up, I think it had won the costa book of the year and I was expecting to be amazed by it because of that. Maybe I should give it another go?

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