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The Shock of the Fall

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  43,220 ratings  ·  4,282 reviews

'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.'

Debut novel about one man's descent into mental illness, following the death of his brother in childho
Paperback, Costa BOTY 2013 edition, 314 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Thr Borough Press (first published 2013)
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Brad Coleman I suppose some books aren't for everyone. I picked this up and couldn't put it down. I thought it was fantastic!…moreI suppose some books aren't for everyone. I picked this up and couldn't put it down. I thought it was fantastic!(less)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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Paul Bryant
Another novel to prove, if proof was needed, how utterly heartless and without pity I am becoming. Sorry, Nathan Filer, I come to rain all over your parade. Well, quite a lot of it.

The blurb has these three little sentences:

There are books you can’t stop reading, which keep you up all night

(Well, I actually was reading this most of last night, but that’s because I had insomnia.)

There are books which let us into the hidden parts of life and make them vividly real.

(Referring to the world of the s
Charlotte May
"This is my life. I'm nineteen years old, and the only thing I have any control over in my entire world is the way I choose to tell this story. So I'm hardly going to fuck about. It would be nice if you'd try to trust me."

I am so fascinated by books that depict mental illnesses. Books such as The Bell Jar, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Countless just to name a few, have really touched me. The focus on the frailty of the human mind is something that resonates really strongly with me,
Petra X living life blissfully,not through books!
I always find it hard to write reviews about meh books. Books I love, books I hate, I have strong feelings towards them, but meh... What do you say?

The book is supposedly revelations of how it really is to be schizophrenic and what life in a mental institution is really like and the author is a mental nurse so he knows. As the book has won many awards I was expecting the writing to be better than competent. Perhaps I was expecting too much having just read the searingly brilliant Man Booker pri
Aj the Ravenous Reader
Nov 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aj the Ravenous Reader by: Ikram
Shelves: young-adult

I read this for Kimi's birthday tomorrow, Nov. 29! I'm posting it now because I might be too busy tomorrow. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KIMI! PUT A SMILE AS BIG AS YOUR HEART BECAUSE YOU DESERVE TO BE THE HAPPIEST ON YOUR SPECIAL DAY! <3 You can read her awesome review here.


This is an interesting read that deals with mental illness, more particularly schizophrenia as a result of a boy’s grief over the death of his older brother. It is a daring but successful endeavor on the part of the author
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Sometimes I read books so obsessively that I end up with something like this when I’m finished:

Uploaded with

Then I sit around for a week (or two, or twelve) because I have no idea how to write the review.

It only seems fitting that someone like me (who clearly has an undiagnosed mental disorder) would flag the holy hell out of a book about a fellow with a mental disorder. It also seems fitting that I should let Matthew
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
A heartbreakingly beautiful account of trauma, grief, and mental illness. Still processing so much about this story, but it's one that will stay with me for a while. 4.5 stars ...more
Jan 29, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It must be me since reviews of this book were overly positive but I honestly don't know why I took the time to finish reading this novel. I'm baffled by comments that this story could make anyone laugh and cry. It is certainly neither stunning nor a book that one would have a hard time putting down, and I would never recommend this book considering the wealth of options available to readers.

The only positive aspect of this novel is that it presents a very realistic glimpse of what mental illness
Hannah Green
It seems that, by pure coincidence, I have stumbled into a number of books regarding mental illness, however, the depiction that this book utilises is purely unique. This book is quite simply unlike anything else I have ever read, that is without doubt or question.

The use of various fonts interspersed with simple drawings complement well the inconsistent thought process which Matt's thought process follows. Moreover, the subtle references to past events, without explaining full details, created
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned-read
Such an unbelievably honest story.
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
4.5 stars
Nathan Filer’s debut stunned me and left me speechless. It’s been a long time since I read something so beautifully written.

Where the Moon Isn’t is a story told by Matthew Homes, a mentally ill nineteen-year-old. It’s a metafictional novel, as Matthew constantly and intentionally exposes himself as the author and communicates openly with the readers. He provides excuses when he’s unable to explain something or offer further details. He makes constant remarks about his mental stability,
Amy | littledevonnook
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Such an engaging read, straight into my favourites for the year!

- This novel follows the story of a young man named Matthew. We are told of the tragic death of Matthew's brother during childhood and how he blames himself for its occurrence. As the reader we are unsure as to whether Matthew is actually guilty of the death of his brother or whether it was just a tragic accident. Nearer the end of the novel we discover the real story as to how his brother died.

- The other vital element to this nov
Diane S ☔
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never read anything quite like this book before, it is a unique experience traveling along in the mindset of a mentally ill young man. I remember going to the theaters and seeing the movie "Beautiful Minds", I loved this movie, was completely blown away. That is how I felt at the end of this book. First time book for author Nathan Filer, and since he was a mental health nurse in previous years, he knew what he was writing about.

Matthew, our unreliable narrator, has a voice that is very re
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dem by: Noeleen
Nathan Filer's Debut Novel The Shock of The Fall is haunting and very real insight to death and mental illness.

I was recommended this novel and was assured it was a good audio book as I struggle with audio as opposed to reading and I have to say the narrator is excellent and he totally draws you into the character of Matthew to such an extinct that you feel it is actually Matthew narrating the story.

Matt Holmes is a 19 year old schizophrenic struggling within the mental health system who decides
I read the majority of this book within the last 24 hours. I just couldn’t stop reading and even neglected some of the stuff I should’ve been doing instead. Oops. But good books have the ability to make you forget everything around you, and The Shock of the Fall did just that.

‘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 t
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
One of my more unique reads this one, I was wary of the hype around it, but really enjoyed reading it. I love the way the book is written, for a debut novel it's quite exceptional, it's an emotion stirring book and thought provoking too.

It's essentially the story of a young man's descent into mental illness, from childhood events to trying to live as an independent adult and on to life in a mental health care facility.

What is spectacular about this book is how immersed in our main character yo
May 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Many parts of "The Shock of the Fall" that aim to evoke sentimentality and sorrow, fall a little flat. The narration is very yappy, but that being said there are some nice quotes and occasional tenderness throughout the book.

The plot was often gearing towards how Simon died, which really could have been told from the very beginning seen as the story was told from the perspective of Matthew (who was a witness) but instead it wasn't revealed till the very end. I acknowledge that it is a traumati
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nathan Filer is a registered mental health nurse as well as a performance poet and his real-life experience is evident in this, his debut novel. The story is narrated by Matthew, a nineteen year old schizophrenic who recalls the sudden, tragic death of his older brother, Simon – a death which he believes he caused.

The use of mixed formats, different fonts interspersed with occasional line drawings cleverly mirrors the ebb and flow of Matthew’s mental illness. Likewise, the narrative flits betwee
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
We are selfish my illness and I. We think only of ourselves. We shape the world around us into messages, into secret whispers spoken only for us.

3.5 stars. This was upsetting, but very insightful. To describe the descent into schizophrenia in such a vivid and moving way, you must have some experience with this illness in real life. So it made perfect sense when I read that the author has been a registered mental health nurse, working in psychiatric wards, for more than a decade.

I think what I li
Sam Quixote
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Matt Homes is a young man from Bristol with schizophrenia, writing out his life story which centres around the death of his Downs Syndrome brother when they were children. As Matt’s narrative progresses, we learn there’s more to his brother’s death than he initially lets on and that this is why he carries around feelings of guilt.

The Shock of the Fall is a character portrait rather than a narrative driven book - unfortunately, for a character piece, I never really felt like Matt had much of a w
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book on schizophrenia from the POV of a person struggling with it. Two brothers. A tragedy. The life of everyone afterwards and what happens if there's a predisposition for schizophrenia. It's a hard book to read. It forces you to feel the struggle of a schizophrenic from the inside. An important book. ...more
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tragic and beautiful.
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"There was the shock of the fall and the blood on my knee and Simon had carried me. He carried me all the way to safety, all by himself, because he loved me."

This book left me speechless. It was so honest and gave a very real insight to both death and mental illness. The first thing that came to my mind when I started reading this book was that it somehow reminded me of The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger. I'm not sure why.

After reading this blurb, I picked up the book immediately:
"I’ll tell
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a rare thing to find a novel addressing the issues of mental illness handled in such a deft and compelling manner, but this is exactly what Filer has achieved in this accomplished debut novel. Drawing on Filer's own experiences of working within this field of mental health, there is an authenticity to the book that further compounds the effect and enjoyment of this, at times, heartwrenching story. Narrated by Matthew, a young adult, in the grip of schizophrenia, whose life has been hugely ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Maybe it's because of my profession -- I work in marketing for a scholarly publisher -- but this book could serve as an interesting study in how book marketing works in the trade publishing world. I spent a lot of time looking at how the original British title -- The Shock of the Fall, a line repeated throughout the book -- and the original British descriptive copy became Americanized. The copy that accompanies the British edition (on GR at least, which tends to be fairly faithful to jacket copy ...more
This is the second book I have read recently, which I am unsure if I liked it or not. There wasn't anything I disliked but equally there was nothing which made me love the book. There was supposed to be an element of suspense but sometimes it just frustrated me, We knew simon died early early but the whole book lead up to how, which wasn't that difficult to guess.
The character I empathised with most was nanny noo, what a kind and compassionate woman. I really enjoyed reading scenes which feature
Amal Bedhyefi
I have never read anything like this book before, such an engaing and interesting read that deals with mental illness, schizophrenia to be more precise , as a result of a boy’s grief over the death of his older brother, Simon , who had the down syndrom .
A heartbreaking yet a very beautiful/strange story that my mind is still processing , I'm squite positive that this book will stay with me for a while.
I feel helpless and at the same time devastated..
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
*4.5 stars
The Shock of the Fall is the story of a boy desperately clinging to the memory of his brother; out of guilt, out of fear. It's such a hauntingly realistic depiction of mental illness, that it becomes difficult to continue reading, because from a certain point onward, every page breaks away a little piece of your heart.

"Spring sunshine painted pillars of white across my carpet"
Filer's writing is the backbone of the novel. Don't get me wrong, it's not the only good part of the book, but
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a debut novel, The Shock of the Fall was freaking awesome. Hell, for a however many numbered novel, this book was pretty spectacular.

This book follows Matthew and adult mental illness and very real family connections. It shows how mental illness can affect everyone's lives and how the person with the illness sees themselves, their family, and life/society. It was raw and bitter and beautiful to read.

Filer did just a fantastic job at giving Matthew an original and very genuine voice. I ma
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mijn recensie over dit boek kan je hier lezen: ...more
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Nathan Filer is a writer and lecturer in creative writing. His stand-up poetry has been a regular fixture at festivals and spoken-word events across the UK and has been broadcast on BBC 3 television and radio 4, 7, and 5 Live. He is also a BBC Best New Filmmaker and holds an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University. He lives in Bristol with his partner and their daughter.

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“Reading is a bit like hallucinating.” 181 likes
“Mental illness turns people inwards. That's what I reckon. It keeps up 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.” 170 likes
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