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Drift Stumble Fall

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility. From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richard’s existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door lo ...more
Kindle Edition, 325 pages
Published April 12th 2018 by Hideaway Fall Ltd
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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Miriam Smith
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poignant, emotive and thought provoking, all words that came into my head as I was reading "drift stumble fall" by M.Jonathan Lee. I loved it from start to finish and found it a really entertaining and enjoyable read.
Richard Brown feels trapped in his hectic family life. Staring out of his window he envies the tranquil life of Bill and Rosie, his neighbours living across the road. From his lounge, Bill keenly watches as Richard's young family grows. As the two men watch each other from afar, it
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Richard seems to be in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Married with two children, a nice house and a good job you'd think he'd be content but he's feeling trapped and just wants to escape to a quiet cabin in the woods. When his in-laws lunch time visit extends to a stay of a few days due to heavy snow, he plots how to escape his suffocating existence, convincing himself that his family would be better off without him. As the snow settles in trapping them all indoors he watches his elderly neigh ...more
Whispering Stories
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book Reviewed by Clive on

According to the Missing People charity one in every five hundred of the UK’s adults go missing every year. The reasons are varied but in many cases their families will never hear from them again.

In Drift Stumble Fall M. Jonathan Lee studies just two of these aspects in what is initially a simple story of a week of suburban domesticity featuring two middle class homes. On the one hand we have Richard giving us his narrative of how he plans to ch
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cursory glance at neighbours Richard and Bill would appear to show their envy for one another’s lives, in an almost ‘the grass is greener’ type of way. But those first impressions can be deceptive.

Separated by a generation, and a mere strip of tarmac, their properties directly face each other. The exteriors successfully conceal the ghosts of happier times, but for wholly different reasons.

Each man acknowledges the presence of the other with an impassive hand raise from behind the protection o
I've been somewhat undecided on how to review and rate Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee. There is no question that it's an exceptional book, delving into the melancholy mind of Richard, who is married to Lisa and the father of young Hannah and Oscar.

Set over the course of several days during a continuous snowfall, which leaves Richard and family home bound along with his in-laws, we are witnesses to his mind's plan of escape from what he has determined is a trapped and chaotic life. Richar
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Find all my book reviews, plus fascinating author interviews, exclusive guest posts and book extracts, on my blog:

Richard seems to have everything – a good job, two lovely children, a nice house – but it isn’t making him happy. Richard feels trapped in a life that hasn’t turned out how he imagined, ‘trapped inside something I created.’ The heavy snowfall currently preventing his usual escape to work only increases this sense of entrapment. Seeking refuge
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Realistic and raw, Drift Stumble Fall is like a trap within a trap. It’s one of those books that take life and mirror it back to the reader in its truest form and you can’t help but feel how your heart feels heavy with it all.

I have to admit- this title was not the easiest of reads, not at all. It was challenging and sad and yet, I couldn’t stop.

Richard feels utterly overwhelmed. He has been driven to the end of his wits with the busyness, routine, hustle and bustle of his life, marriage and a c
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m sure everyone is familiar with the concept of the grass is greener on the other side. Some people will watch their friends and neighbours rather enviously, wishing for their cars or their houses, or even their lives. It’s rather human, isn’t it? To want what someone else has? But you never really know what goes around behind closed doors, do you?

Richard is not a happy camper. He feels incredibly trapped in a life he didn’t specifically choose. Married and the father of two children, he often
Nicole Chinnici
Drift Stumble Fall is the second book I’ve read by M. Jonathan Lee, the first being Broken Branches, and his writing continues to impress me.

“That has always been my problem. I can’t say no. So instead, I just go along with it. Whatever it is.”

This story explores the theme of judging other people’s lives based on what we see and how things are not always as they appear. Following the perspectives of two men who live across the street from one another, the truth about each household unfolds slowl
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book reviews on

Wow - this is such a beautifully written, powerful novel which, though not action-packed, really made me feel like I was inside the head of someone feeling so trapped and unhappy. It really spoke to me, and I feel that this is such an important book to read.

Though ultimately about two men who seem to think eachother's lives are somehow better than their own, the novel explores so much more than that, and you really need to read this novel to fully appreciate i
Jack Stark
2.372273 stars.

You can read my more in depth review of this on my blog - Random Melon Reads!

I have unpopular opinions. I struggled to enjoy this as much as I wanted to. I’d heard great things about Lee’s other work and was really looking forward to reading this. Unfortunately, the story didn’t really feel like it was going anywhere for a long time and I didn’t really like any of the main characters. I struggled to find anyone I could invest my emotions into, which meant I found the the slow bur
Matilda Chapman
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The monotony of daily life can often make you wonder about the possibilities of running away from it all and starting your life over. The dreams you've always brushed off as being unrealistic, suddenly transforming into a potential reality,  brushing amongst the generic thoughts of work, taxes, family and marriage. Most of us have been there, right?

Suddenly we see ourselves living in a forest somewhere, relying on nature to keep us alive. Or maybe you've always had dreams of running to LA and ch
catherine ♡
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
*Thanks to Hideaway Fall for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!*

Actual Rating: 3.75

To start - I absolutely love the cover. The contrast between the cool colors of the background and the warmth of the window is perfection and it represents the story itself so accurately.

Drift Stumble Fall follows Richard Brown, a father who feels uncomfortably trapped in his role, shackled by the nonstop clamor and chaos by his children. He looks out his window into his neighbor's home and wi
Shruti Ramanujam
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

On the outside, it looks like Richard Brown has it all. He has a decent job, a wife, and two young children. What looks idyllic from the outside, is anything but on the inside. Richard hates his life. He feels trapped and the only feeling he can draw for his family is resentment. So, he spends his days staring out the window at Bill Marsden’s seemingly perfect life. Bill and his wife are old and the only occupants
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, reviewed
The writing is good and it drew me in. The story is told almost in diary form and we get almost minute details of a week in family life, the dull moments, the almost farcical moments that every life has, and everything in between. The author has portrayed very realistic and believable relationships between the characters, all the little details in the interactions between them are spot on.

I just didn't connect with main character Richard. The blurb says that the author is a mental health awarene
Richard isn't happy with his life. He often feels resentful of his wife and children, burdened by the weight of responsibility that goes hand-in-hand with having a family. When he isn't hiding in the bathroom to get a break from his family, Richard can be found gazing at a neighbor's home. Bill and his wife seem to have a perfectly peaceful life, and Richard envies them. Meanwhile Bill—a father without children—envies Richard and his young family. Both men wish for what the other has, neither on ...more
Karen Mace
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The simplicity of this book is stunning! And that is how it gets you!! You follow the thoughts of two main starting with Richard Brown who seemingly has it all living in a nice house with his wife and 2 children, but feels trapped, restless and dissatisfied with life and is planning his escape. And he spends his time with envy watching Bill who lives across the street who he sees as having the perfect quiet life as it is just Bill and his wife Rosie.

But Bill is watching Richard and having the s
Danielle N
This review may also be found on Books, Vertigo & Tea.

My Thoughts

After having read Broken Branches last year, I was certain I would connect with this latest title by M Jonathan Lee. Add my recent interview with the author discussing his important work with mental health and own personal connections, and picking up Drift Stumble Fall felt not only easy but necessary. Simply put, I was compelled do to so, much like I was compelled to finish this book in two small sittings.

The skinny..

Feeling caugh
Melissa Borsey
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the story about a man who loathes his life and has a plan to walk out on his family and disappear. With a “the grass is always greener” mentality, he thinks he would be happier if he lived the life his neighbor across the street lives however he has no idea the troubles his neighbors have. If he did know, would it make a difference? I really enjoyed this poignant and thought provoking story and I look forward to reading more books by this author. I thank Netgalley for the opportunity to ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I first stumbled across M Jonathan Lee when I read Broken Branches last year. I loved it, and couldn't wait to read further work by this author. I was so excited to read Drift Stumble Fall, hoping that it would live up to my expectations, and my goodness, so it dId. This is a remarkable book thst explores and opens up a wide range of emotions. A gentle book that explores what it is to be human, and to live for every day.

The book focuses upon the lives of two men. We have Richard, the working man
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This novel is about a man who isn’t happy with his life. He feels cornered and yearns for something more… more adventure, more mental stimulation, less suffocation. He longs for the life of his neighbour across the road, peaceful and quiet, with no children to be entertained every minute of the day.

‘Maybe I’m a straight-line type of person who has accidentally chosen a circular life’

But is that life really as idyllic as he makes out?

Drift Tumble Fall is a novel made up of many quiet qualities an
Emma Smart
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever sat and wished you had someone else's live and sit planning mentally planning to get away at the first opportunity you can get. This is what this story is like Richard and his family move in across from a elderly couple who live a quiet life and Richard dreams to be like bill and his wife and sits down to plan his escape route. But would Richard go through it after finding out what bill and his wife have had to live through. And when Lisa's father confides in Richard something that ...more
Clair Sharpe
Thank you Hideaway Fall for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Richard is a typical middle aged married man, with a job, house, wife and 2 kids. But he wants to escape – he hates his life and craves to live in solitude and be able to live his life without responsibilities to anyone else.
Across the road live Bill & Rosie, an elderly couple. Richard envies their easy existence and seeing Bill often standing at the window looking out, wishes he had their lives.
Told mos
Nick Jones
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was a massive fan of A Tiny Feeling of Fear and Broken Branches, so I was super-excited and privileged to receive an advance copy of M. Jonathan Lee's latest novel, Drift Stumble Fall. From the first page it 'feels' like a Lee novel - he knows how to hook you in from the start and paints the picture so effectively with fairly simple but detailed descriptions. Big on characterisation and well-observed scenes of the everyday life of a parent, Drift Stumble Fall is a slow-burner, but as with all ...more
Caroline Vincent
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Two neighbours across the street – each trapped in their own world. Each craving for the other’s life – envying the other judging by appearances. One’s shocking truth is revealed to us, the reader. The other’s less shocking but still far-reaching plans… Drift Stumble Fall, the new atmospheric, dark, and captivating novel by M. Jonathan Lee.

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
– Aldous Huxley

| Introduction |
“‘I love you,’ she says. So
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Isn’t it just the most satisfying feeling when you read the first page of a new book and instantly know that you’re going to love it? This is exactly how I felt when I began this story.

Richard is restless. All his mind can think of is leaving his life behind. He wants to disappear abroad and live a new life. He’s been feeling like this for a long time. Living with his wife and two kids, just isn’t cutting it anymore. Each time he stares out the window, he sees his neighbour; Bill.

Bill’s life see
Kimba Tichenor
It is difficult for me to evaluate this book, as I believe, at least in part, that my lackluster perception of it is shaped by how the publisher chose to classify this book. When I opted to request it through NetGalley, I did so based on the description provided and its categorization as "mystery/thriller" (as well as general fiction). The problem with labeling this book as "mystery/thriller" is that it leads the reader to expect a certain level of action or plot development that simply never ma ...more
Ellie ↟
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
3.5 stars to Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathon Lee

Emotive, thought provoking and quiet yet beautiful in it's story telling, Drift Stumble Fall is a powerful little story about life. Richard seems to have everything. Wife, kids, a nice house and a stable job. These attributes don't stop him from feeling trapped in his supposed picture perfect life.

Through a diary entry style prose we get to experience Richard's day to day life and experience all the little things in life that are sometimes good,
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent novel from M.Jonathan Lee. I highly recommend this book.
I was drawn into this book from the very first page, I wanted to devour it and know who was who and what was going to happen, there and then.

This story is really well thought out, I especially thought the gloomy, snowy weather helped to set the ambience for the story, if it had been warm and sunny, I feel it wouldn't have worked !
I also felt it was really clever how Richard referred to his mental state of mind in the beg
Melancholy Codex
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After reading Broken Branches I was obsessed with M.Jonathan Lee’s writing style. He has an evident talent with imagery. I’m was not surprised that this book was utterly brilliant.( I was however pleasantly surprised with how fitting it was for the current weather, as my entire local area is being beaten to death by storm Emma) Definitely a cosy read with a dark moral. I love it when stories with a moral are interesting and intriguing without being ultimately cheesy and cliche. Can’t wait to see ...more
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M Jonathan Lee is a nationally shortlisted author who was born Yorkshire where he still lives today with his wife, children and dog, Alfie.

His debut novel, The Radio was shortlisted for The Novel Prize 2012. He has spoken in schools, colleges, prisons and universities about creative writing and storytelling and appeared at various literary festivals including Sheffield’s Off the Shelf and Doncaste

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