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Lean Fall Stand

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  384 ratings  ·  94 reviews
From the internationally bestselling author of Reservoir 13 , this thrilling new novel of an Antarctica expedition gone wrong and its far-reaching consequences leaves the reader moved and subtly changed, as if she had become part of the story (Hilary Mantel).

Remember the training: find shelter or make shelter, remain in place, establish contact with other
Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: September 21st 2021 by Catapult (first published April 29th 2021)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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Almost four years ago I read Jon McGregor’s Reservoir 13 and loved it, so when I saw his latest, Lean Fall Stand, I knew I wanted to read it. I didn’t even bother to read the blurb, as I’d found myself completely captured in the first sentences of reading Reservoir 13, and was anticipating the same. I wasn’t disappointed.

Shared in three sections, this begins with Lean , with the setting being a small Antarctic research station where the main character, Robert ‘Doc’ Wright, who has years of e
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
He always had to reach for the words. As though they’e been put on a high shelf in the stores. Out of reach. Or left outside, snowed under, needing to be dug out. He used his hands to fill in the gaps, when he couldn’t quite get to the words.

/ _ |

A new Jon McGregor novel would be the highlight of any year – and this one will I can confidently say be a literary highlight of 2021.

The wonderful Reservoir 13 starts as a missing girl mystery but almost immediately becomes an multi-voice explorati
May 04, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020s
I’ve lost count of the number of times I thought about reading Jon McGregor’s Reservoir 13 over the years, so when I came across this one in a bookshop I didn’t even blink before buying it. I thought “there it is, Pedro, your perfect chance to read this author without any preconceptions about it” and I started it the same day.

Once I’d opened it, and because the first part was titled “Lean”, it became obvious that the novel had been structured in three parts and that most certainly it was going
May 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2021
Jon McGregor's last novel Reservoir 13 was my favourite book of 2017, and probably a career highlight, so a very hard act to follow. This book doesn't just succeed in meeting that challenge - in some ways it is arguably even better. Reservoir 13 had an innovative structure - this time most of the innovation is linguistic.

The story is told in three main parts.

In the first part Lean we meet three men on a small remote Antarctic research station - while out on the ice they become separated by a su
May 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Falling. Weight. Silence. White. Mouth full. Snow pack tight. Wait. Up. Down. Floating. Low thing. Snow sling. Heart beat slow snow low light gone. Footsteps little far. Footsteps big near. Shout. Pull. Fight. Shout. Pull over, turn over. Breath. Big breath. Mouth open, cold air. Lungs burst. Breath, breath, breath. Stand. Lean. Fall.

Lean Fall Stand opens with three members of an Antarctic expedition team separated in a sudden storm and my heart and mind started jitterbugging; this is right
Roman Clodia
It's hard to talk about things, Robert. I know it's hard to put them into words.

I'm struggling to put in words what I found underwhelming about this book - which is, ironically, entirely appropriate since issues about words and communication are what the text is all about.

From the mis-use and inadequacy of language ('people said these things, but the words didn't always fit'), failed technical communications as radios and phones fail to work in the face of a polar storm, to the struggle to
Paul Fulcher
I’ve got a lot of work to do. They’re going to have me filling out carer assessment forms. I don’t want to be a carer; I never even really wanted to be a wife.

Lean Fall Stand opens in the Antarctic and with an interesting nod to Rachel Cusk:

Doc had gone off on the other skidoo and climbed up Priestley Head, to give the picture perspective. Without someone in the frame there was no way to capture the scale of this place. He’d been struggling with it since they’d first arrived. In the pictures he’
May 30, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed in this novel. 2.5 stars only. ☹

That said, given his other works that I have read by him — Reservoir 13, The Reservoir Tapes, and If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things — and how much I really liked them, I would buy another book of his as soon as it becomes available.

But this one… 😐

It involves a person whose job it is to be a technical assistant to scientists in a research base in Antarctica. (view spoiler)
May 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never has there been so many ways for humans to communicate and never has there been such a lack of communication.
Lean Fall Stand highlights this in innumerable ways, from people stumbling over what they want to say, from radios loss of signal white noise, from medical events that lead to loss of language and more.
Told in sparse language the book, in part one, set in Antartica feels like an adventure, a beautifully described, cinematic portrait of a place few of us will ever go.
Part 2 Is harr
May 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To be honest I would be entirely happy reading a note that McGregor had written to the milkman, as each of his books I read seem to assimilate and examine the world in such contrasting ways. His writing is never less than sublime, and the extraordinary world he presents in this one is deeply chilling and packs an absolutely powerful emotional punch, through his use of vivid description and beautifully realised characterisation. If it's not in contention for one of the major literary prizes this ...more
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I do so enjoy Jon McGregor’s writing and this one contributed to my Christmas feasting. After a riveting, thrilling first section set in the Antarctic, atmosphere and tension throughout, I was expecting the second section to start where the first left off. Instead I found a complete change of direction, equally enthralling for entirely different reasons and especially so for my personal family situation. I would hate to spoil the book for anybody by saying too much more about the events he descr ...more
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
"Everyone’s story is important, she assured them"

/ _ |

Lean, Fall, Stand is a story about storytelling and about communication.

I want to start by saying that, in my view, the book blurb communicates rather too much and does a bit too much storytelling of its own. I would advise not reading it before reading the book itself, if you can possibly avoid it. If you read the blurb, all the tension disappears from the first part of the book. In truth this doesn’t really matter because that tension is a
Chris Haak
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and impressive novel about the wonderful, harsh world of Antarctica, about language and lacking the ability to properly communicate, and about roles in life that (need to) change.
Thank you Fourth Estate and Netgalley for the ARC.
Andy Weston
The book is divided into three sections, each bearing a word from the book’s title. The sections aren’t an even spread. The first, which is by far the most compelling, occupies about a quarter of the whole.
Robert “Doc” Wright is a veteran of more than 30 years in the Antarctic, leading two young assistants on a geographical survey. McGregor’s description of the storm that hits is terrific; that sort of short graphic and expressive prose that can make you almost feel like you are there, like the
Moritz Mueller-Freitag
The best books capture your attention as you read, but also linger in your mind long after you finish the final page. Jon McGregor’s new novel, Lean Fall Stand, is that kind of book. It is a deeply felt exploration of serious illness and the repercussions it has on family life. There was a lot that resonated with me in this book.

The story is told in three parts. The opening section, Lean, follows three men on a research expedition to Antarctica. When a violent storm erupts, the men are separated
Professor Weasel
I knew nothing about this book other than it had something to do with Antarctica. I REALLY enjoyed reading this, knowing nothing about it, because it made the unexpected twists and turns all the more enjoyable. So, if this is a book you are interested in reading, I recommend reading as little as possible about it!

(view spoiler)
Demelda Penkitty
Jun 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
When an Antarctic research expedition goes wrong, the consequences are far-reaching – for the men involved and for their families back home.

Robert ‘Doc’ Wright, a veteran of Antarctic field work, holds the clues to what happened, but he is no longer able to communicate them. While Anna, his wife, navigates the sharp contours of her new life as a carer, Robert is forced to learn a whole new way to be in the world.

Award-winning novelist Jon McGregor returns with a stunning novel that mesmerizing
Rob Twinem
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a stunning novel. Having just finished Lean Fall Stand I am still affected by the language and the theme of communication or not that runs through each chapter. Robert, Thomas, and Luke are mapping and carrying out important research work in Antarctica, a virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass. An area of extreme weather conditions where sunshine could turn to snowy stormy wipeout in minutes, clear visibility replaced by blindness...…”Glaciers and ridges and icebergs and scree, weather ...more
Apr 24, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
Somewhere between 3 - 3.5

Having only read one previous McGregor novel (The Reservoir Tapes - which I concede I didn't 'get' having not read the preceding book, Reservoir 13) I was curious to give his latest offering a try, and I have to say I'm glad I did.

Lean Fall Stand is a novel made up of three parts, titled / _ | (the lean, fall, stand of the title), which correspond to the content of each section in relation to the protagonist Robert's life, and the punctuation usage feels apt given that t
May 15, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Are authors better off writing from experience or relying solely on their imagination? It’s a thorny issue, and there’s a lot to say in favour of writers not being constrained by the parameters of what they’ve lived through. However, I’ve always felt that sensations and events are important to provide raw material for artists to work upon.

Jon McGregor’s latest novel, Lean, Fall, Stand takes its inspiration from two real-life experiences – a trip to Antarctica as part of a writers and artists pr
May 24, 2021 rated it liked it
Lean Stand Fall is not what I expected.

Broken up into three main parts, the story begins with the mission of three explorers in Antarctica who end up separated when a bad storm hits. What the first section lacks in character development, it makes up for in atmosphere and tension.

The book then moves on to two very different sections which are linked to the events of the first, but pull focus to the human element of the story.

Initially, I wished the whole book was more focused on the Antarctic s
This one started off so strong. Incredibly strong. It’s intense, it’s exciting, its dangerous and I was loving it. Then there was a shift in the plot, and I was still really enjoying it and I was thinking it was going to be a five star book, but towards the end it just lost it for me. I found myself skimming the pages. It just lost my interest, I could see what the author was trying to do but it didn’t work for me. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out April 13th.
Sara G
May 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“Lean Fall Stand” opens with a man, Thomas, dropping to his knees as a storm bears down upon him. He is in Antarctica as part of a mapping expedition, and, after only three weeks on the ice, he is still unprepared for a storm of this intensity. Robert “Doc” Wright, his technical guide, is assigned to use his thirty years of Antarctic experience to keep Thomas and his mapping partner Luke safe from dangers like this. Unfortunately, when the storm starts, Doc is atop a faraway ridge, slipping off ...more
Stephanie Jane
May 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-europe
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

Reservoir 13 was one of my favourite novels of 2019 so, when I spotted the chance to read a review copy of Jon McGregor's new novel, Lean Fall Stand, via NetGalley, I didn't hesitate to request it. McGregor uses this story to thoughtfully explore concepts of communication and heroism and I was absolutely captivated by it from the first page to the last. Similarly to Reservoir 13, Lean Fall Stand is a slow-paced, character-driven work that use
Jun 10, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021
This one starts out like a mystery novel. But after the first few chapters it transforms itself into an exploration of language, how we communicate or tell stories and so on. Then like in "Reservoir 13", it becomes a story of the "routine". Detailed review to follow. 3.5 stars. ...more
May 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jon McGregor, my favourite author for now, has written another book that will turn you inside out. Poignant, descriptive, poetic it explores the notion of what being a hero really means, why we need to tell our stories, and the line between selflessness and selfishness. If you have at any point had interaction with someone who has had brain surgery or a stroke, you will find this book heartbreaking.
I usually talk covers in my reviews - this one says it all.
Jun 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars- review to come.
May 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 rounded up to 4
Sandra Danby
May 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Jon McGregor is one of the most original novelists I have read and ‘Lean Fall Stand’ doesn’t disappoint. It is a novel of three parts, beginning thrillingly at an Antarctic research station when a storm suddenly separates the three expedition members. We know tragedy happens, but not what or how. Surviving expedition guide Robert ‘Doc’ Wright suffers a stroke and is unable to tell what happened on the ice.
‘Lean Fall Stand’ is Doc’s story as he struggles to recover his ability to do the smallest
G.J. Minett
Jun 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Jon McGregor has presented me with something of a dilemma here. I've been a huge admirer of his talent ever since his amazing debut novel 'If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things' and have become accustomed to awarding 5 stars almost automatically to everything he's written. He is an absolute master when it comes to the understated but powerful tug on the heart strings and his carefully crafted sentences are a testament to an articulacy and emotional intelligence of the highest order .

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Jon McGregor is a British author who has written three novels. His first novel, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, was nominated for the 2002 Booker Prize and was the winner of both the Betty Trask Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award in 2003. So Many Ways to Begin was published in 2006 and was on the Booker prize long list. Even the Dogs was published in 2010, and his newest work, Reservoir 1 ...more

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