The Shock of the Fall

  • by Nathan Filer
  • Narrated by OIiver Hembrough
  • 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2013
'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.'
The Shock of the Fall is an extraordinary portrait of one man's descent into mental illness. It is a brave and groundbreaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction.

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What the Critics Say

"A stunning novel. Ambitious and exquisitely realised, it's by turns shocking, harrowing and heartrending. The writing is so accomplished it's hard to believe it's a debut - it's clearly the work of a major new talent" (S J Watson)
"Nathan Filer is following in the footsteps of Mark Haddon's genre-setting The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. Both funny and painful... you're going to love it" (Daily Mail)
"Bittersweet and wonderfully etched...perceptive and moving" (Daily Telegraph)
"A deeply moving (but also funny) first novel" (Kate Saunders, The Times)
"I found it dark, touching, sweet and funny and beautifully written...one of the best books about mental illness." (Jo Brand)
"A compelling story of grief, madness and loss. Filer has an ear for the dark comedy of life, and Matthew is a charismatic lead character who draws you in even as his world falls apart" (Observer Magazine)
"A tragic and comic account of living with schizophrenia. A must for fans of Matthew Quick's The Silver Linings Playbook" (GQ)
"A stunning debut - sad, poignant, real and very very readable. For a first time novelist, Filer has an impressive grasp of complex narrative, and a character we can all care about" (Stella Duffy, author of The Room of Lost Thing)
"A terrific debut: engaging, funny and inventive" (Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine)
"Nathan Filer is following in the footsteps of Mark Haddon's genre-setting The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Both funny and painful...you're going to love it." (Daily Mail)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Tender and heartwarming

This is a wonderful. The author has been careful to maintain a realistic picture about mental illness, and yet it is not completely bleak. The image of Matthew alone in his flat obsessively working at his typewriter is heartbreaking but this is mitigated by the persistence on Nanny Noo who's love pervades this story.
The grey area between being a normal person and somebody who is defined as mad is brilliantly depicted. All of a sudden reading a book becomes 'reading behaviour'' in the eyes of the observer. In addition I really began to understand why people resist being subjected to drug regimes that are merely a blunt instrument to deal with the problem.

I have met a number of young people who have suffered the same problems as Matthew. This story has helped me understand a little of what they are going through.

The narration from Oliver Hembrough is first class and his Bristol accent adds an authentic
air to the story.
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- Kaggy "Will read anything within reason."

Captivating characters and a facinating journey.

What did you like most about The Shock of the Fall?

The concise language used for a complex subject gives the reader a clear view from inside the mind on a young person dealing with grief, it is not a sentimental or depressing read but rather an enlightening tale of the cause and effect of mental illness on a typical family.


What did you like best about this story?

I liked the way the author gives all the family members a point of view. The services available to help families were shown to be well meaning but at times useless, this injected humour at times, the narrative is speedy and the story truly takes you on a journey of discovery.


What about OIiver Hembrough’s performance did you like?

I thought the narrator brought the main character life and that he gave the story the pace it needed.


Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book made me laugh out loud and also cry for the unfairness of life. I would also say it gave me a feeling hope.


Any additional comments?

This book deals with a very difficult subject in a wonderfully written story, the characters are all very "alive", even when they are not. A brilliant read.

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- Linda Patterson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 16-01-2014
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited