Come and chat to Costa Prize winner Nathan Filer about THE SHOCK OF THE FALL on Tue 24 June, 9-10pm

(89 Posts)

Nathan Filer's extraordinary debut, The Shock of the Fall, beat off strong competition to scoop the 2013 Costa prize, and has been described as the literary equivalent of Silver Linings Playbook.

Filer was a mental health nurse when he enrolled on a Creative Writing MA, and the result is a sharp, engaging and enlightening novel about (among other things), living with schizophrenia. Matthew, the narrator, is an astonishingly convincing character who is dark, funny and articulate. He also believes he can talk to his dead brother. He pieces together his family's story, including a shocking accident and the aftermath of grief and isolation, whilst slowly coming to a coherent understanding of the events. Matthew is an outstanding creation, with an entirely authentic voice, and a haunting presence that lingers after the book has ended.

You can find out more at our book of the month page and you can follow Nathan on Twitter @nathanfiler

HarperCollins have 50 free copies to give to Mumsnetters – to claim yours please go to our book of the month page and fill in your details. We'll post here when all the copies have gone.

We are delighted that Nathan will be joining us to discuss The Shock of the Fall, his inspiration and his writing life on Tuesday 24 June, 9-10pm. So please feel free to discuss the book here throughout the month, pop up any advance questions and we hope to see you here on 24 June.

DuchessofMalfi Mon 19-May-14 18:33:30

I bought this on kindle a little while ago. Will read along - looking forward to the discussion smile

gailforce1 Wed 21-May-14 08:43:37

Looking forward to reading this book and to the discussion.

AliceMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 28-May-14 11:01:10

This giveaway is now closed. We will inform those who have been selected to receive a free copy via pm. Once you have read the book, let us know your thoughts and post a question for Nathan Filer for our bookclub webchat 24 June.

musicmaiden Fri 06-Jun-14 14:33:17

Thank you for the book - what a treat!
Am starting it right away.

lottietiger Mon 09-Jun-14 19:05:26

Just finished this book. Having a toddler it's not always easy to concentrate but I managed to finish this in two days as it kind of draws you into the story and I kept picking it up and reading a few pages. I will post a review on the review page but I really enjoyed this book and will be recommending it to others.

Dunlurking Tue 10-Jun-14 08:49:28

Thank you Mumsnet. I'm rereading this prior to posting a review. It is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Looking forward to posting a question for Nathan as well.....

QueenYnci Tue 10-Jun-14 17:30:13

Read this book yesterday in just two sittings. It usually takes me a few goes to get into a book by an unfamiliar author but I flew through this one.

I really liked the structure of the story and the way the main character jumped back and forth between past and present, giving away a little bit more of the backstory each time but still leaving you wondering about certain details right up to the end. Everything was really subtlely written and the author didn't seem to find the need to over-explain things. A really enjoyable book.

queenoftheschoolrun Wed 11-Jun-14 11:38:04

I enjoyed this book and read it in just two sittings as I just couldn't put it down. I don't think I've read a book written from the point of view of someone with schizophrenia before and it gave a fascinating insight into this terrible condition. Not only from the narrator's perspective but also his friends and family. Little snippets showed just how much they loved him, how helpless they felt and yet how determined not to give up on him.

I also thought the portrayal of the mother's grief after losing her other son was all the more poignant seen through the eyes of the narrator as a child.

A brilliant debut!

gailforce1 Wed 11-Jun-14 12:35:07

Thank you for my copy. Looking forward to starting this evening.

MrsRedWhite214 Wed 11-Jun-14 13:02:56

I couldn't put this book down. Even with a sick toddler I still managed to read it in a weekend. Matthew is lovely character that you can really identify with. It's a sad but uplifting story and I think the ending was perfect. It explores on the normalness of mental health issues which was lovely.

katb1973 Fri 13-Jun-14 11:04:40

Got my copy and tore through it as it was so engaging. Thanks Mumsnet!! I found the story just riveting. I didn't expect the author to be so clearly able to describe the slow decline of a family and the descent of mental illness on the remaining son Matthew after the death of their son and brother. I found it fascinating that I was able to gain an insight into what this descent might look like inside someone's thoughts rather than just seeing their actions. As a debut author, I feel that Nathan Filer has a lot of promise and I can't wait to read his next book. This one was a cracker!

shouldbeelsewhere Sat 14-Jun-14 00:00:43

Got my copy and haven't had a chance to start reading it yet. But my DM saw it in my flat and told me she'd bought herself a copy and read it in one sitting over the weekend. So now I'm even more excited to read it because I've never heard her mention reading a proper size book like this in one sitting before - so it's gotta be good.

Great to see so many glowing reviews, and hope you can all make it to the web chat next Tue 24 June.

If you can't be there on the night, or you'd like to get your question up here first, now is the time to put any advance questions on the thread. We'll forward them to Nathan at the end of the week.

However, it's even better if you can join us live on the night, and chat to Nathan in person, so do hold onto your questions for the main event if you know you can join us.

Looking forward to it immensely, I think it'll be a fascinating book to discuss with the author's personal experience and insight.

miluth Mon 16-Jun-14 15:36:16

Thanks so much for the book, after seeing so many great reviews, can't wait to start it. ��

Mick15 Mon 16-Jun-14 23:32:45

Thank you for my copy which arrived a few days ago. I'm about 1/3rd into the book (my first from Mumsnet) I found the first few pages tricky to follow but I'm really enjoying it now. I'm trying to find big chunks of time to read because I'm finding it easier to digest if I can really get into Mathew's thought flow. The book is beautifully written with colourful and engaging detail (I had one of those Donky Kong games). My question to Nathan Filer would be "do you think it makes a difference if the reader knows what the book is about before they start reading and would you suggest it's better to know or not know a book when you read? How does this impact on the experience?" Many thanks, Ellie.

musicmaiden Tue 17-Jun-14 14:28:49

Just finished. Thought it was pretty great. Wonderful, believeable characters, an amazing portrayal of mental illness and grief. The timelines were a little confusing but it all came together beautifully in the end. And such a lot of memorable scenes: the endless tedium of the mental health unit, the different nurses and their quirks, the flat he lived in, the pain of the family, the partial memories, the memorial.

My only slight misgiving is him meeting Annabelle. Clearly as her Dad owned the caravan park it's not that unlikely she would be in the area - but for her to have been on the cliff/beach at the exact moment Matt was seemed a little contrived. But it's a small point and, actually, her appearance fitted well with the slightly hallucinatory nature of that portion of the book.

My question for Nathan is: How do you see Jacob's role in Matthew's story? He featured a lot in the first half and then 'disappeared'. Was his main purpose to show how even good friends can let you down when you have big problems?

TheNightIsDark Wed 18-Jun-14 13:04:15

I just realised I won this! The bit of paper had fallen out and I've spent days trying to figure out when I had ordered it. Thanks MNHQ.

I really enjoyed this. It took me a while to get into it but that's more because it's the first book I've read in 9 months not history based (student!). Will be recommending it to my friends.

fluffydog Sat 21-Jun-14 21:41:36

This book hooked me in - it is a long time since I have read a book in such a short space of time. If you get a chance to read it do, it is not the sort of book I would normally read but it had me totally engrossed and I had to get to the end. I found it interesting it was set in the South west of England which is where I am from so I had a little connection and recognised some of the places mentioned within the book.

gailforce1 Sun 22-Jun-14 12:08:35

An engrossing portrayal of mental illness. I found the description of the in patient unit particularly resonating as I have been following a thread on Chat from a MNetter who is also in a similar unit and is also battling the tedium and the inedible food. The local news on Friday evening covered the lack of funds for MH services in the south and, in particular, services for young people. Perhaps this book should become recommended reading for anyone connected with MH services so that they can experience the patient's perspective!
My question for Nathan - are you still working in MH services and can you see any signs of improvement in the way service users are helped?

ccp Sun 22-Jun-14 15:31:26

Firstly thanks so much for sending me the book. I read a lot and so it's lovely to get one for free. Having read the reviews on this book I was desperate to read it. This is a difficult review to write as everyone else has written such glowing reports and maybe my review would be a bit better if I had managed to finish the book but I'm so sorry, I can't finish it. I have read almost the first 200 pages but I found I was finding excuses not to read it. Each time I picked it up I was having to reread chunks as I couldn't remember what I had read the last time. When I read the few pages again I wasn't surprised I had forgotten: nothing memorable had happened. It's a subtle book and I think it's best probably read in one or two sittings, not the five or six it usually takes me to read a book. I liked the blurb on the back of the book. The voice of the narrator is very individual but I just couldn't get into the story. I like my books to grab me, to intrigue me and to make me care so much there's no way I couldn't put them down. The drip feed of information was too slow for me. I did love the character of Nanny Noo though - what a wonderful grandparent.

Reading is all about different stories and styles appealing to different people and I'm sorry this one didn't appeal to me. I'm obviously in the minority here though and will make sure my copy is passed on to friends and family to ensure that the spine is eventually broken on that final 100 pages. Thanks for giving me the chance to read it.

NathanFiler Mon 23-Jun-14 11:04:24

TillyBookClub

Great to see so many glowing reviews, and hope you can all make it to the web chat next Tue 24 June.

If you can't be there on the night, or you'd like to get your question up here first, now is the time to put any advance questions on the thread. We'll forward them to Nathan at the end of the week.

However, it's even better if you can join us live on the night, and chat to Nathan in person, so do hold onto your questions for the main event if you know you can join us.

Looking forward to it immensely, I think it'll be a fascinating book to discuss with the author's personal experience and insight.

Hi there Tilly,

Just giving this a test. Does it work? Do I pass?

Nathan

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 23-Jun-14 11:40:32

NathanFiler

TillyBookClub

Great to see so many glowing reviews, and hope you can all make it to the web chat next Tue 24 June.

If you can't be there on the night, or you'd like to get your question up here first, now is the time to put any advance questions on the thread. We'll forward them to Nathan at the end of the week.

However, it's even better if you can join us live on the night, and chat to Nathan in person, so do hold onto your questions for the main event if you know you can join us.

Looking forward to it immensely, I think it'll be a fascinating book to discuss with the author's personal experience and insight.

Hi there Tilly,

Just giving this a test. Does it work? Do I pass?

Nathan

Hey Nathan, passed with distinction smile We're really looking forward to the webchat tomorrow evening.

Scousadelic Mon 23-Jun-14 15:29:58

I won't be able to make the webchat as I will be working but just wanted to add my voice to the praise for this book. I read it on holiday and loved it, brought it home for DD to read (she studies psychology and works with patients hospitalised for schizophrenia so is a tough audience!), she also loved it

motherinferior Mon 23-Jun-14 19:00:59

Nathan, I just wanted to say I bloody loved your book, I'm so glad you won and I hope you celebrated by dancing indecorously on tables. (And I tried to get to interview you for one of the psychiatric nursing journals but the editor selfishly nabbed the opportunity first because he loved your book too.grin)

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