Firstly, I can't fully express how beautifully written this book was. I was left completely breathless by this book - which was slightly embarrassing as I finished this book on a cramped train on the way to work! I wanted to exclaim how great this book was, but had to keep my excitement under wraps. I usually grab a coffee with an old work friend on mine in the mornings, and the first thing I did when I saw her was thrust this book in her face!
I've since done the same to my boyfriend now that my friend has finished reading it. The story follows 19-year old Matthew and his struggle with mental health. In the opening pages you discover that his older brother Simon, who had down-syndrome, died in front of Matthew when they were both children.
The Shock of the Fall explores topics of mental health, tragedy and grief. You are introduced to his parents and his grandmother. It's interesting to gain an insight into each family member and their coping mechanisms. However, the story is told from Matthew's perspective alone, and can sometimes feel untrustworthy.
A feature I loved about this book is that it often switched between fonts and word layouts. The book is written as if Matthew is typing up and sometimes he is not using a computer, but a type writer, sometimes he doodles on the pages. It gave the impression of reading someone's manuscript rather than a novel. Matthew often speaks to you directly, which made the book even more emotional.
Nathan Filer won the Costa Book Awards for The Shock of the Fall and I must say it was completely deserved. This book is so beautifully written and handles sensitive subjects incredibly well. There is also an interview with him in the back of the book which I really enjoyed reading - all books should have this included!
I'm completely shocked that this is Nathan's first book and I'm really looking forward to reading more of his work in the future. I can't recommend The Shock of the Fall highly enough.