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review 2016-02-26 21:24
The Shock of the Fall
The Shock of the Fall - Nathan Filer

A few years ago, I went through a phase where I read tons and tons of books about characters with illnesses. I quickly burned myself out on them because they all started to feel similar. I was hesitant to read The Shock of the Fall because I’m still feeling the illness-book burnout. However, the author of this book is a nurse, so I thought he’d have a unique take on the topic.

 

The book’s narrator, Nineteen-year-old Matt, has been struggling with schizophrenia for most of his life. This novel is written as a document that Matt types up and illustrates. He tells the story of his brother’s death, his dysfunctional relationship with his mother, and his time in a hospital.

 

I think the author does have an interesting take on the illness topic. I like that we get to see the business side of running a hospital and how budget cuts impact the patients (or “service users”). The reader also gets to see how dehumanizing it can be to stay in a hospital long-term. The patients’ lives are boring. They have very little control over what happens to them. Sometimes they don’t even understand what’s happening, and the hospital workers can’t be bothered to explain.

 

Matt has a disorganized way of thinking, and the novel’s structure captures that well. He tells events out of order, repeats himself, and talks about things that happen only in his imagination. It’s obvious that something is not right with his mind. The story is a little confusing at first, but I got used to the structure quickly, and I ended up really liking it. The nonlinear structure shows Matt’s personality and what’s important to him.

 

I love Matt’s relationship with his father. At first, his father seems standoffish, but he just has unusual ways of showing his love. Instead of being affectionate, he has special names for Matt and writes messages on the walls. It’s sweet.

 

I think this book proved that I’m still suffering from illness-book burnout. I enjoyed the book, and I got through it quickly, but I found it predictable. It didn’t do much that I haven’t seen in dozens of other books that focus on illnesses.

 

Matt also doesn’t feel like a realistic nineteen-year-old to me. I was actually surprised when he said that he was nineteen because he sounds much older. I had to keep reminding myself that this is a teenager narrating.

 

This book didn’t blow my mind, but it’s an interesting enough way to spend a few hours.

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review 2015-08-31 15:39
Matt und Simon, Simon und Matt
Nachruf auf den Mond: Roman - Nathan Filer,Eva Bonné

Matt bringt seine Geschichte zu Papier, er erzählt von seinem bisherigen Leben und wie sich darüber von Anfang an der Schatten seines Bruders legt. Denn sein Bruder Simon ist längst tot, doch verlassen hat er ihn dennoch nicht.

Matthew ist Patient in der Psychiatrie. Er hat den Tod seines großen Bruders Simon nie verkraftet, gibt sich daran selbst die Schuld und es ist ihm zumindest ein Trost, dass Simon nicht nur in ihm sondern mit ihm weiterlebt. Denn Matt ist schizophren und hat nicht nur mit seinem eigenen Geist sondern vor allem mit dem seines Bruders zu kämpfen.

Kern der gesamten Handlung ist Matts Weg zur Erkrankung und wie er zumindest irgendwie zu genesen versucht, obwohl er sich nicht einmal sicher ist, ob er das überhaupt will, weil es bedeuten würde, Simon zu verlieren. Matt selbst würde es so ausdrücken:

„Ich richte meinen Blick zwanghaft nach innen. Meine Gedanken kreisen ausschließlich um mich, so wie diese Geschichte. Es geht um meine Gefühle, meine Gedanken, meine Trauer.“ (S. 277)

Aber nicht nur! Der Autor zeigt, wie sich psychische Erkrankungen in den Alltag einschleichen und wie lange es dauern kann, bis sie als solche begriffen werden. Er beschreibt traumatisierte Eltern, die mit der Situation überfordert sind, und eigentlich nur das beste wollen und damit vielleicht das schlimmste anrichten.

Nathan Filer geht aber auch auf die Umstände in Nervenheilanstalten ein. Zeigt, wie sich alle zwar wohlwollend bemühen, und es dennoch viel zu wenig Aufmerksamkeit für die einzelnen Patienten gibt. Er zeichnet ein Bild von tristen Raucherhöfen, überarbeitetem Pflegepersonal, das schon einmal die Grundregeln der Pilleneinnahme vergisst, und Menschen, die in ihrem Job alles geben und trotzdem nicht das Mindeste schaffen können. Hier merkt man meiner Ansicht nach, dass der Autor von seinen eigenen Erfahrungen als Pfleger schöpft, und die Chance ergreift, um auf Missstände hinzuweisen.

Die Geschichte von Matt und Simon bzw. Simon und Matt ist sehr drückend beschrieben. Matt wendet sich persönlich an den Leser, in dem er in der Psychiatrie mit dem Computer schreibt oder in seiner bescheidenen Wohnung in die Tasten einer alten Schreibmaschine haut. Matts geistigen Zustand entsprechend ist der Erzählstil teilweise verworren, denn der junge Mann ist eben an Schizophrenie erkrankt. Manchmal führt er den Leser genau wie sein Umfeld an der Nase herum, dann schlägt er mit einer entwaffnenden Ehrlichkeit zu oder ist sich selbst nicht so sicher, was überhaupt noch der Realität entspricht.

Dieser Erzählstil war sehr fordernd und gleichzeitig interessant zu lesen. Manchmal hatte ich das Gefühl tatsächlich Matts Notizen in den Händen zu halten, diese Zettel, auf denen er seine Seele entblößt, und die ich als Leser in seiner schäbigen Wohnung gefunden und an mich genommen habe.

Spannend ist auch, dass Matt dem Leser lange vorenthält, was überhaupt mit Simon geschehen ist. Gleich zu Beginn stellt er seinen großen Bruder vor, den er über alles liebt, nur um darauf hinzuweisen, dass man sich gar nicht erst an ihn gewöhnen soll:

„ … bei der Gelegenheit kann ich Ihnen meinen Bruder vorstellen. Er heißt Simon. Ich glaube, Sie werden ihn mögen. Wirklich. In ein paar Seiten wird er tot sein. Danach war er nie mehr derselbe.“(S. 11)

Die Geschichte von Matt und seinem Bruder Simon war für mich eine spezielle Lektüre und regelrecht beklemmend zu lesen. Es ist ein behutsamer Einblick in eine geschundene Seele, dabei zeigt der Autor Zustände in Psychiatrien auf und möchte dem Leser vielleicht mitteilen, dass ein geistig verwirrter Mensch einfach nur krank ist, und genau deshalb Hilfe braucht.

 

© NiWa

Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
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review 2015-04-23 14:44
The Shock of The Fall by Nathan Filer
The Shock of the Fall - Nathan Filer

You know those movies that critics go rave about forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, but when you watch it, it's like meh? The Shock of The Fall was one of those types, but it's, well, a book. Obviously. Maybe this isn't my type of book, maybe I wasn't in the right place to read it, or for another reason out of millions of them, but I didn't love The Shock of The Fall. Nathan Filer is clearly a good writer, of that I have no doubt. Actually, the story isn't bad either, it's really good to be honest. And I kind of adored the protagonist. And I was interested in where things were going.

But... That's it. I liked it. It had some truly wonderful moments and my eyes teared a few times. So while I read it, I really did like it. However, when I put the book down and thought about it, I couldn't quite tell what made me like it or if I would have read it had I known what it would be.

So what is The Shock of The Fall? It's the story of a mentally ill young man namned Matthew. We follow how he struggles with his illness and the guilt from his dead younger brother. As his illness progresses his troubles multiply, both with himself and the people around him, especially his family.

I can't place my finger on why I didn't like this more than I did. As I said, it has wonderful moments and poignant insights on mental illness and many other topics. Yet, after reading it, I can't help be underwhelmed. Just writing this reviews is beyond frustrating since I want to say that I loved it, but at the same time I so do not. So I'll just say it like this: I liked it. It's a great book. Unfortunately, I can't say more than that.

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review 2014-12-31 17:40
My Top Book of 2014!
The Shock of the Fall - Nathan Filer

I was going to do a post including all my top reads of 2014, but I felt that this book stood out so much that it warrented a post all of its own. Also, which is especially good for me, it means I can be lazy and not do a post with multiple books!

 

As I'm sure you know by now, I don't award five-stars lightly and this is the only book that got a full five from me. Even worse is that I read this book away back in January, so it's been nearly a year since I've had a five-star read! I've read plenty of great books this year, one's that have gotten four-and-a-half stars, but nothing has gone that extra bit of distance.

 

You're probably wondering at this point what kind of book does go all the way for me and rightly so. Well, it has to be a book where I deeply sympathise with the protagonist on an unbelievable level and feel a real emotional connection with. Here, that rare thing happened and I love it as much now as I did then. I reckon it'll always be special to me. It tells the story of Matt and his battle with mental illness. To see my full review, go here, The Shock of the Fall

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review 2014-10-09 00:00
Når vanviddet rører på sig
Når vanviddet rører på sig - Nathan File... Når vanviddet rører på sig - Nathan Filer This book didn't feel as important to me as I hoped it would.

Having lost a brother myself, I found it easy to identify with Matthew. I got where he was coming from; the need to do something now that you didn't get to do while they were alive, because you were so young. I completely get that, and it was interesting to me to see how other people could be dealing with this.
That being said, I think his parents were completely unfair. I'm not sure I got the part about why he went and lived with Nanny Noo, but it seems to me his parents kind of blamed him for the death of Simon, his brother. That seemed so harsh to me! And the way his mom constantly made him do things he didn't want, it just didn't seem necessary, and it made me dislike his parents.

I think the premise of the book was better than the book itself. The idea was great, but I don't think the book lived up to it. It was a bit too confusing at some points, I didn't get the computer vs. the typewriter part. What?

This book left me hanging with a few questions; why did his parents treat him that way? This meant a great deal to me, and I'm annoyed that I never found out. He was just a kid and should be treated like one. That being said, I think the writer did a great job with the ending of the book. It was the right way to end a story like this.
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