“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.”
Nathan Filer’s debut novel, ‘The Shock of the Fall, is a dark and deeply moving story which sees the main character, Matthew, struggle to come to terms with the event that causes the death of his brother Simon. Through a series of flashbacks we gradually piece together what happened on that fateful night and in much the same way that it is a revelation to the reader, it becomes an epiphany to Matt. Filer states that, ‘it is central to the novel that Matthew is physically writing his story, that this process takes times, happens in different locations, and that his life is continuing to move forwards as he writes about it”.
Simon’s death occurs very early on in the novel, whilst on holiday in Ocean Cove holiday village and is set amongst a backdrop of the dramatic and rather ominous landscape of Chesil beach and Portland. Having visited both these place myself it is clear why Filer chose this as the location for his novel as it’s starkness echo’s the struggle Matthew battles against in his head and the empty, bitterness that his Mother inflicts upon him after the tragic event.
Themes of mental health, family breakdowns, guilt and blame are all explored in this clever and compelling story. I became eager to find out what had happened to Simon and what part Matthew had to play in it. The chapters which have been written from the viewpoint of Matthew as a child are beautifully written capturing the wonderful relationship between the brothers. This childhood innocence continues as Matthew reaches adulthood where he seems incapable of leaving his childhood behind as he is haunted by his mother’s blame.
A great read which will leave you captivated and begging for more. I for one can’t wait to see what Filer writes next.
To find out more about Nathan Filer follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nathanfiler
Next month’s book: ‘The Moaning of Life’ by Karl Pilkington.