Book Rave: The Shock of the Fall

new novel review book recommendation

I haven’t been this excited by a book in a long time: Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall is one of those novels that reaches out, grabs you firmly by both ears and refuses to let go until you’ve finished. I polished it off in just over twenty-four hours and I have to say that I feel somewhat exhausted by the whole experience; it’s a proper seesaw of emotional ups and downs and poignant moments.

The novel tells the story of a man, Matthew Homes, and his spiral into mental illness. Actually I say man, but it’s difficult to categorise this character – he’s nineteen in the “present day” of the narrative, but he spends so much time in the past, reliving his childhood memories and recounting the events that he thinks shaped his future, that you often read his words as though they are the words of somebody much younger.  I suppose this is what makes the whole novel such a colourful and busy experience – you never quite know who you’re dealing with. Matthew darts backwards and forwards in time, all the while holding onto his dark little secret and revealing little clues and pointers about things you’re not quite sure you want to find out about! Matthew is incredibly sharp and witty and keeps you on your toes the entire time – you never know whether you can fully trust what he’s coming out with and he’s actually quite open about the fact that he often remembers things incorrectly. At one point in the novel he gives three alternatives for what might have happened in a certain – quite significant – situation, but never confirms which of the options might have been the truth. It’s a clever device, really, because you experience first-hand the workings of his mind; unreliable, unpredictable, prone to sudden change.

First person narratives often irk me; if the “voice” you’re hearing isn’t quite believable, staying with it for a full novel can be a bit like wading through treacle. Matthew Homes, though…by the end of the book you’re desperately hoping that there’ll be an endpage with details about the forthcoming sequel. (There isn’t.) His is not a voice you can tire of. Perhaps because it’s a voice of so many different people; it changes according to his mood or whether he’s on his medication or whether he’s making something up or whether he’s writing from the typewriter his grandmother has given him or the computer at his secure unit at the hospital. It is, as I said before, a voice that is colourful and vibrant and all of the words that you wouldn’t usually associate with a novel that deals with mental health issues. The themes in The Shock of the Fall are dark, yes, but the humour and the clever, detailed observations that run through the novel stop it from being depressing. It’s shocking, in places, but you can’t help but carry on reading. I most highly recommend.

The Shock of the Fall is £3.85 at Amazon here

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  1. kate
    March 19, 2014 / 7:31 am

    I read this book the other week, loved it!

  2. March 19, 2014 / 8:28 am

    Sounds like it is masterfully written, not sure if I am brave enough to read it just yet. I have to be in a certain state of mind for books with darker undercurrent.

  3. March 19, 2014 / 10:26 am

    Is it bad that I ordered this book right after seeing this picture in my feed reader? How beautiful is this cover!? <3
    I might hold off reading your post until after I finished it though :D

  4. March 19, 2014 / 10:57 am

    Great review! Thanks for bringing this to my attention -it’s already been added to my Goodreads TBR list :)

  5. March 19, 2014 / 11:13 am

    Sounds great! I’ll put it on my “to read” list!

  6. March 19, 2014 / 12:31 pm

    This sounds like an incredible novel! I shall definitely be putting that on my ‘to read’ list! I felt that way about the book called “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. JK Rowling); so gripping, and fantastically written.

  7. Kathryn
    March 19, 2014 / 1:14 pm

    My reading list is currently enormous. Fresh out of university I am actually enjoying reading for fun and it feels so good!

    This book sounds right up my street, thank you for your recommendation!


    Bit of a Freak | UK Beauty and Lifestlye Blogger

  8. March 19, 2014 / 3:09 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation. In the Stylist, yesterday, I read about ’60 postcards’, have you read it? I think I’ll order it at some point.

  9. March 19, 2014 / 3:30 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation – have downloaded for my kindle straight away!

  10. March 19, 2014 / 5:48 pm

    My boyfriend and I saw this in a book store a few days ago and were both so desperate to buy it but resisted due to the amount we already have to read! My shelf is literally stacked high. From what you have said though, I am now even more desperate to read it, so looking forward to when I can actually allow myself to order it. After seeing the price on Amazon, it is so tempting. Will definitely post when I have got it! x

    Georgina |

  11. March 20, 2014 / 6:04 pm

    This sounds like a great book, will definitely be downloading it onto my Kindle tonight!

    Check out my recent Haircare Heist, DIY Teeth Whitening, and Home Remedies for Acne Scarring posts over on my blog:



  12. March 20, 2014 / 8:33 pm

    Perfect timing – I’ve been wondering what to read next and this sounds just my cup of tea. Thank you!

    rachael | made up of little things

  13. March 21, 2014 / 9:17 am

    That definitely sounds like a narrative I’d like. Kindle sample to self duly been sent! Btw, am with you on first person narration, you have to be able to engage with the ‘voice’, I know peeps loved ‘Room’ but I couldn’t handle the little boy’s voice, it just didn’t feel right. Friends of mine were aghast I gave up on it, but I really tried!! X

  14. alison
    March 22, 2014 / 10:35 am

    ooohh im looking for a good book. Just bought Normaderm by Vichy under your recommendation Ruth, I like it a lot x

  15. Emma
    March 27, 2014 / 8:52 pm

    I read this in one sitting after reading your recommendation…now the book is being passed through my circle of friends ! Beautiful book, thank you.

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