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The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
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The Shock of the Fall

by Nathan Filer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9185114,845 (3.71)103
Struggling to understand what happened to his brother years earlier after they both snuck out of the house during the middle of the night, Matthew believes he has found a way to bring his brother back by going off his meds.
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    Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Both books do a great job of helping the reader understand what it's like to experience a mental illness. Whilst neither shy away from the suffering that accompanies this both are ultimately hopeful books.
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    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (AlisonY)
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» See also 103 mentions

English (49)  Dutch (2)  All languages (51)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Mental illness and grief. This was unrelentingly depressing and while it did occasionally rise above the manipulative and mawkish, it was never actually enjoyable. I'm just pleased I managed to get through it in an afternoon. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
I loved this book, although I also found it very disturbing. It gives us a vivid, and deeply unsettling, account of what life is like for someone with schizophenia. It captures that uncertain space between a lived reality and the compelling phantoms that stalk the psychotic mind. As a reader you are left wondering, like Matt, the narrator of the text, whether this is real or imagined. ( )
  RobAbbott | Dec 31, 2017 |
Nathan Filer’s Costa Book of the Year-winning first novel chronicles the mental breakdown and guilt-ridden recovery process of Matt Homes, a young man whose childhood was wrecked by the death of his older brother Simon, who suffered from Down’s Syndrome. On holiday with their parents when Matt and Simon were children, an episode of mischievous nighttime tomfoolery instigated by Matt ends with Simon dead. Matt’s crushing guilt over the event is a contributing factor (one presumes) to his later diagnosis of schizophrenia, and the novel is framed as a document Matt is writing as part of his treatment to help himself and others understand what happened. The story proceeds in Matt’s at times matter-of-fact, at times funny, at times caustically sarcastic voice, a voice that effectively and entertainingly conveys his resentment, frustration, and occasional bewilderment with a psychiatric health care system that seems more concerned with following official procedure than with making lives better. Matt is perceptive, wise to his own coping strategies and those of the adults in his life. Sometimes amused, sometimes disheartened, he watches people struggle to deal with him and his disease, and decides to make it easy on them, or not. In his telling, Matt’s parents are sympathetic: kind and caring but ineffectual, his mother depressive and over-protective, his father helpless in the face of tragedy. Other characters do not come off so well, particularly the decision-makers—bureaucrats and psychiatrists—who are depicted as aloof and judgmental. What happened the night that Simon died is withheld until near the end: only revealed as Matt’s journey comes full circle and he accepts that people other than him must share responsibility for the tragedy. Filer’s accomplishment in this novel should be applauded. He writes convincingly in the voice of a 19-year-old man suffering from a devastating and debilitating illness. His indictment of the British health care system is not subtle, but oftentimes change does not result from subtlety. Filer is trained as a psychiatric nurse, so he is writing with his eyes wide open. Dramatically powerful, authentic and socially relevant, The Shock of the Fall is not an easy book, but its rewards are many. ( )
  icolford | Oct 29, 2017 |
An edgy, anxious and sometimes uncomfortable read. But isn't that what mental illness can be about?! In the author's words, "Mental illness turns people inwards.....It keeps us forever trapped by the pain of our own minds, in the same way that the pain of a broken leg or a cut thumb will grab your attention, holding it so tightly that your good leg or your good thumb seem to cease to exist." ( )
  kimkimkim | Aug 21, 2017 |
Matthew lives with his mother and father. He used to have a brother, Simon, who had special needs but who died whilst on holiday. Simon's death damaged each member of the family in different ways. Matthew's mother home-schooled him and kept visiting the doctor with regularity. Matthew is bright and expresses himself through writing, he is also schizophrenic and subject to a care order.

The story of Matthew's descent into madness and his management of the everyday could be lurid and overly dramatised. Nathan Filer treats it with sensitivity and the occasions of violence are skated over. Written in the first person and showing an acute understanding and empathy, this is an exceptional story. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
It's an unsettling read but a perceptive and moving one. One image stayed with me. Matthew refers to his life as "watching my helium balloon slowly die".
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nathan Filerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hoekmeijer, Nicolettesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Emily
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I should say that I am not a nice person. Sometime I try to be, but often I'm not.
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I do not have a split mind. I am not different people. I am myself, the same self I have always been, the one person I can never escape.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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