Review: ‘The Shock of the Fall’, Nathan Filer

Polite notice: I don’t discuss anything in these reviews that isn’t available from blurbs and articles, and they’re more like recommendations. Going to post this in front of every Patreon post so you can proceed without worry that I’ll spoil it.

Review time! My second book is The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer, which my friend Robyn recommended to me – I think Nathan Filer teaches at her university. Regardless, I made a good choice to reserve it from the library, because I was into it enough that I finished it in about four days and didn’t really need to think about picking it back up.

That being said, it’s not the easiest story to read. I seem to remember hearing that Nathan Filer, who won the Costa Prize for the book, was inspired to tell the story when he was working in the mental health section of a hospital. I expected it to be a book about an insane asylum in the 20th century or something – it’s not. It’s a story about a guy called Matt, who tells us about his life, starting from when he’s about six to the present day, when he’s 19 or so. We meet his parents and, more importantly, his brother Simon, who features heavily despite dying in the first chapter.

'The Shock of the Fall' by Nathan Filer
Excuse the diddy picture. I accidentally deleted the original and had to get this off my own Instagram.

So do I recommend it? Yes. You don’t often read stories about the sort of things Matt experiences that feel like a real person is talking to you. I sometimes feel like the author’s going a bit over-dramatic or one-sided or boring, but The Shock of the Fall is very rounded, and in places ifeels more like a thriller than anything else. It’s one of those books the people who decide NHS budgets should read, as well as anyone who considers metal illness something you choose. I do not, however, recommend you read it in public or to small children as there is both foul language and the possibility it will scare them, rather than educate them.

But somebody should definitely send a copy to Jeremy Hunt. Hey – support my work on Patreon and I’ll use the funds to send him a copy!

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