The Shock of the Fall

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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.

My opinion: I don’t really know where to start with my review on this one. In a good way.

Matthew Homes is a 19 year old who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He narrates the story as we move with him between present day where he is trying to capture the events of his life on paper, and his past which is he is trying to make sense of and come to terms with.

At the start of the story, Matthew is an ordinary young boy with an older brother named Simon. Within a few pages, he becomes an only child when Simon is killed in an accident, an event which will shape the rest of Matthew’s childhood and teenage years.

Although this book deals with a very tough subject, it is a very light and easy read. The narration style really helps with this as we are just getting to know Matthew and his life events unfold quite naturally. The writer deals with sensitive subjects extremely well and captures Matthew’s descent into his state of poor mental health in an honest way.

I can understand why this book won the Costa award as it is a fresh way of dealing with the subject of mental health, and the author should be commended for bringing the issue to the fore. I would definitely recommend this book and hope it goes on to attain even more plaudits as it truly deserves them.

My rating: Five stars