I’m reading an awful lot more than normal these days.
Not reading more that’s awful, you understand, I’m just using flowery language to sound interesting.
How’s it working?
Anyhow, for the first time, since I was 7 years old, I’ve read a book in a day. Cover to cover. I’m serious.
Obviously I loved it, so I’m going to talk about it now for a couple of paragraphs and then, hopefully, you’ll read it and love it too, and we’ll all be happy together.
The Shock of the Fall is one of my favourite kind of books, the first novel. Always keen and raw, first novels feel like you’ve ‘discovered’ the author.
This was Nathan Filer’s project for his MA at Bath Spa, and is set in Bristol, another nice surprise.
It follows the various stages and effects on a single family of mental health problems, from birth defects to tragedy, psychosis and treatment. Written by a mental health nurse it rings with authenticity and has a humour and pathos that is golden.
Filer gladly acknowledges a debt to Mark Haddon, and this is good as the book risks being an ‘Oh, that’s just like…’, which wouldn’t be fair at all. This is character-rich, the dialogue is superb and the pace is balanced exceptionally well. That this is a first novel is as amazing as it is gutting.
Following the narrator, Simon, as he retells his whole life, you believe every word, laugh when he laughs and feel every knock and bump. There is a well crafted suspense too, not a ‘whodunnit’, or even a ‘what happened’. It’s a ‘what happened exactly‘, and that’s really clever.
Very touching and telling, as well as being both boldly and crisply written. One you’ll put down and feel better than you did when you picked it up.