Summary and book reviews of The Shock of The Fall by Nathan Filer

The Shock of The Fall

(originally published in hardcover in USA as Where the Moon Isn't)

By Nathan Filer

The Shock of The Fall
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  • Hardcover: Nov 2013,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: 28 Oct 2014,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

While on vacation with their parents, Matthew Homes and his older brother snuck out in the middle of the night. Only Matthew came home safely. Ten years later, Matthew tells us, he has found a way to bring his brother back...

What begins as the story of a lost boy turns into a story of a brave man yearning to understand what happened that night, in the years since, and to his very person. Unafraid to look at the shadows of our hearts, Nathan Filer's rare and brilliant debut shows us the strength that is rooted in resilience and love.

Editor's Note Feb 10, 2014: St Martin's Press have just announced that Where The Moon Isn't will be republished under the UK title, The Shock and The Fall this week in digital format and later this fall in paperback. They said that the title change was necessary "because otherwise there's a lot of confusion" - The Shock and The Fall recently won the Costa Book of the Year award, which is UK based but has international renown.

the girl and her doll

I should say that I am not a nice person. Sometimes I try to be, but often I'm not. So when it was my turn to cover my eyes and count to a hundred -- I cheated.

I stood at the spot where you had to stand when it was your turn to count, which was beside the recycling bins, next to the shop selling disposable barbecues and spare tent pegs. And near to there is a small patch of overgrown grass, tucked away behind a water tap.

Except I don't remember standing there. Not really. You don't always remember the details like that, do you? You don't remember if you were beside the recycling bins, or further up the path near to the shower blocks, and whether actually the water tap is up there?

I can't now hear the manic cry of seagulls, or taste the salt in the air. I don't feel the heat of the afternoon sun making me sweat beneath a clean white dressing on my knee, or the itching of suncream in the cracks of my scabs. I can't make myself relive the vague sensation of having ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Discuss Matthew's relationship with his parents. How does it change throughout the novel?

  2. Why does Matthew need to tell his story? Is the act of writing a cathartic process?

  3. How does Matthew portray life in the psychiatric ward? Were you shocked by any of the descriptions?

  4. What is Nanny Noo's role in the novel?

  5. Discuss Matthew's comment on page 275, 'I guess there's a Use By date when it comes to blaming your parents for how messed up you are'.

  6. In Matthew's invitation to Aaron and Jenny, he writes 'I'm really sorry if I've got your name wrong. Part of me thinks it's Gemma. Please forgive me if I got it wrong. Not making excuses, but I am a schizophrenic.' Is this ...
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  • award image

    Costa Book Awards
    2013

  • award image

    Costa Book Awards
    2013

Reviews

BookBrowse

The story is heartbreaking but poignant, filled with love and revelations. I was enthralled at the opportunity to delve into the mind of a person with mental illness and see the trajectory of his disorder.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

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Media Reviews
Author Blurb S.J. Watson, New York Times bestselling author of Before I Go to Sleep
Where the Moon Isn't is a stunning novel...The writing is so accomplished it's hard to believe it's a debut - it's clearly the work of a major new talent.

Author Blurb Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Love Anthony
Vivid and haunting, I keep replaying this story in my mind, reliving it, long after having read the final page.

Author Blurb Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty
"I have become an evangelist for Where the Moon Isn't. It won me heart and soul with its crazy, wild, fine voice, its bravura, its ambition, its harrowing corners, and the dense rich tiny core of love at its glowing, radiant center.

Author Blurb Heidi W. Durrow, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
Original and affecting. Filer's ability to capture Matthew's voice shows a special talent.

Author Blurb Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine
Where The Moon Isn't is a fresh smart book with a big daft heart.

Author Blurb Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine
A terrific debut: engaging, funny and inventive.

Booklist

The story Filer tells is deeply affecting and insightful in its account of mental illness.

Kirkus Reviews

This is a terribly unsettling novel, but it works on many levels - as family drama, as a searing indictment of Western health care and as a confession. A haunting story about how to mourn when the source of your grief will never go away

Library Journal

Starred Review. In this very assured debut, performance poet and mental-health nurse Filer shows that he knows what he's writing about.

Reader Reviews
Sharon A. (Tierra Verde, FL)

A Twisted Tale
Nathan Filer's book demonstrates a powerful writing style with a lot of nuances in the chapter titles, drawings and typeface. The author takes every opportunity to draw the reader into the tragic story of mental illness. This topic is certainly one...   Read More

Connie H. (Evanston, IL)

Where the Moon Isn't
Matt spills out his painful story in fits and starts both of insight and delusion. His struggle to come to terms with his reality is believably portrayed. I was reminded of Paddy Clarke Ha-ha-ha by Roddy Doyle.

Debbie M. (Grand Junction, CO)

Where the Moon Isn't
Where the Moon Isn't opens your eyes to a world seen by someone with mental illness. As the world becomes more open to mental illness, we need to understand how the affected brain processes information. Matt lost his brother when he was young. As...   Read More

Maggie S. (Durango, CO)

Where The Moon Isn't
Where The moon Isn't by Nathan Filer is beautifully written. It is a sad, funny, hopeful, heart wrenching story of Matthew, the narrator and main character. He absolutely stole my heart. He is difficult and yet so vulnerable that I couldn't help ...   Read More

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Down Syndrome

In Where The Moon Isn't, the protagonist's brother, Simon Homes, has Down syndrome.

Down syndrome manifestation Down syndrome is the most common genetic abnormality being present in one of every 691 births in the United States. All humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Down's is caused when the 21st set has a partial or a whole extra copy, which means that there are three copies of the 21st chromosome (trisomy). Trisomies can occur with other pairs of chromosomes as well, giving rise to different disorders, but Down's is defined as the one affecting the 21st pair only. This error in cell division happens at conception and its causes are still unknown.

Down's manifests itself with a particular set of facial characteristics including flattened profile and ...

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