I read The Shock of The Fall on the back of it winning the 2014 Costa Award, I guess like many others. I'm sometimes left a little disappointed after...moreI read The Shock of The Fall on the back of it winning the 2014 Costa Award, I guess like many others. I'm sometimes left a little disappointed after reading a book that’s won an award. They can remind me of that moment when I was twelve and I ordered a pair of X-Ray specs from a magazine, and received back in the post a glob of bulky plastic that did nothing except introduce disappointment to childhood. And a sliced eyeball. Fortunately, this sadness was later replaced with the joy of Sea Monkeys actually being things that grow, so I'm glad to say I am over it, even if the memories do sometimes creep back over me as I write Amazon reviews. Memories are kind of what The Shock of The Fall is about. Fractions and shards, bits and pieces, a man writing down and pulling together glimpses of who he once was, under the weight of who he could have been. A clearer life, through a painful mist. I don’t think I can say much specifically about the content of the book without giving anything away, only that the main character Matthew has schizophrenia and is dealing with an incident from his childhood that follows him around and wants to play with him. The book feels like it’s written by Matthew, you can see him with his typewriter on his legs, smoking his cigarettes, struggling to cope with the world he has left. One of the beautiful things about this book, is that the main character Matthew is coping with mental illness, but it’s the world around him that seems, at times, to be suffering from a greater sickness. The Shock of the Fall offers a true insight into the life of different mind. There are times when reading the book gives a sense of crawling into a dark place, and trying to make sense of the light. And there is humour, so don’t think this book simply dark; it is funny at times, and almost full of light everywhere you look. If you want to see it. The book is beautifully understated. All we need is a plastic chair, a conversation and a badly cut sandwich, and life can begin again. Lastly, to finish this review where it began, this book is a worthy winner of the Costa Book Award, and because of The Shock of the Fall, I will be reading more of Nathan Filer’s work, and I will also be seeking out past and future winners of the Costa Book Award. (less)
I've been reading this book for about 24 years. I can no longer take it back to the library I loaned it out from, because the library has become a cin...moreI've been reading this book for about 24 years. I can no longer take it back to the library I loaned it out from, because the library has become a cinema. That cinema was knocked down 5 years ago and made into a Blockbuster Video. Last year that Blockbuster Video was knocked down and made into a Starbucks. So, I've just left the book on the shelf in Starbucks. If Starbucks ever release a coffee that takes 26 years to drink, this could well yet become the perfect book.
Is this book good? Well, in parts. Is it intelligent? In parts. Is it beautiful? In parts. Does the author occasionally throw in the best metaphor I have read? In places, yes. But, the problem is, the book is so massive and long, the stars are lost to the galaxy. The moments of greatness that are in this book, are too far apart for it to have the great impact its reputation claims it will have on the reader.
There is brilliance, yes. But there are also chapters that go on and on where agents are talking film rights and, well, these parts made me want to put my head into the arse of a horse. I am sure they were factual, but they did nothing for the pace of the book.
I feel like the author was unsure whether to write a book or a newspaper article, and landed nowhere.
A good book, yes. One of the great books of all time? Not in my opinion. (less)
The way to tell if a book is a work of near genius is to note if people take a stance against the book to define who they are to side with other peopl...moreThe way to tell if a book is a work of near genius is to note if people take a stance against the book to define who they are to side with other people defining who they are by hating the book.
There is true greatness within these pages. Moments of genius.
Atomised is a spiralling staircase into the thinkings of man. Brutal, hilarious.
One or two star reviews have taken Atomised to a 3.74 star rating (at the time of writing this review) which is merely proof that in any society, the majority of people are idiots.
Probably, maybe, the best book I have ever read.
Probably, maybe, one of the best books I ever will.(less)
The Folded Man was the runner up in The Dundee Book Prize, and Stephen Fry himself said “the book captures the smell and essence of Britain.” So, expec...moreThe Folded Man was the runner up in The Dundee Book Prize, and Stephen Fry himself said “the book captures the smell and essence of Britain.” So, expectations were high. I was blown away. Books these days are plastered with quotes from other authors and the press, who throw words around like extraordinary, vivid and original, and the books never are. The Folded Man is all three, and more. I read The Folded Man in four days because I couldn’t put it down. I sat in a coffee shop in Bermondsey and sat back frequently to mull over the ideas the writer was putting into my head. The little snippets of delightful descriptions, twists of phrases and turns of wording; of which there are many. Matt Hill has one distinctive voice, he’s set The Folded Man in an image of Britain around the corner from here...The events, the people, the life and the living it are so relatable the reader breathes in the smoke from the fires, and touches the fear of the characters burning inside. Brian is disabled and a bit of a mermaid, of sorts. He has his addictions; he wants to be left alone to rot; but then in this place nobody seems to get what they want. Simply put, The Folded Man is a must read. A put whatever book you are reading down and start reading this book instead book. (less)
Hate the main character, not the book. Hate the main character AND the book. But don't hate the book because of the main character. I mean, to give th...moreHate the main character, not the book. Hate the main character AND the book. But don't hate the book because of the main character. I mean, to give this book 1 star because you didn't like the main protagonist is crazier than a clown glove reaching out of a cuckoo clock one minute before the hour...because the book, all books, can never be written with "you" specifically in mind. So, in short, get over yourself.
In a literary world engulfed by werewolves and vegetarian vampires, supported by a television schedule hell bent on nullifying the imagination of the planet, books like this are hard to find.
I mean, people watch Eastenders every night, what do people know?
Is it perfect? no. There are blocks of text, and on occasion the book gets engulfed in it's own need to make the events plausible, almost (in my opinion) takes itself too seriously - but just reading a book that takes you into another book and then back round and into conciousness itself has to be worth a look.
Ariel, student/teacher of sorts reads a book she isn't meant to read, and everything literally spirals, but not out of control, from there.
I would give this book 5 stars, but I'm more philosopher than scientist, so I tend to prefer floaty words of squish to structure; not that there aren't plenty of lovely turns of phrase in The End of Mr Y.
For the originality of story, for the unabashed belief in writing the impossible - Scarlett Thomas, bravo.