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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Review: The Shock of the Fall, Nathan Filer

'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.’

This book is an extraordinary insight into a man's descent into mental illness. Matthew's brother's death has haunted him for years; the puzzle has to how it happened is assembled throughout the book, and even though we see dark, tragic glimpses the full story is still heartbreakingly shocking. We don't find out the exact nature of Matthew's illness until near enough the end of the book's close, either, and though it seemed somewhat of a mystery, the reveal makes complete sense.

It is a beautifully written book, disordered and muddled in places as we try to trace Matthew's inner monologue - he seems to go off on various tangents, filling in pieces of the backstory as he goes - but it wouldn't make sense to be otherwise. It's one of those books that can fill you with such deep sadness and compassion that you want to cry but just don't feel able to. A brilliant work from a debut author.

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