Nineteen-year-old Matthew is writing the story of his life and that of his older brother, Simon, who had Down syndrome. Simon, Matthew writes, had a beautiful smiley face like the moon. But thinking about the past is like digging up graves, for Simon died in an accident when he was 11, and Matthew, 10 years later, still blames himself for his brother’s death. Although the moon that was Simon’s face now isn’t, Matthew continues to hear his voice where he is being kept in an acute psychiatric ward. For Matthew is schizophrenic. Mental illness turns people inwards, he writes. Will writing about what he finds there offer him healing and relief from his guilt? British first-novelist Filer is a mental-health nurse who, having worked as a researcher on inpatient psychiatric wards, writes with authority and sympathy about schizophrenia and Matthew’s life as both inpatient and outpatient. The story Filer tells is deeply affecting and insightful in its account of mental illness. And Matthew is a character the reader won’t soon forget. --Michael Cart
“WHERE THE MOON ISN’T is a stunning novel. Ambitious and exquisitely realized, it's by turns shocking, harrowing and heartrending. The writing is so accomplished it's hard to believe it's a debut -- it's clearly the work of a major new talent.” --S.J. Watson, New York Times bestselling author of Before I Go to Sleep
"A page-turner, tender and tragic, told in a vulnerable voice that steps in and out of madness. Vivid and haunting, I keep replaying this story in my mind, reliving it, long after having read the final page."
--Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Love Anthony
“I have become an evangelist for The Shock of the Fall. It won me heart and soul with it’s crazy, wild, fine voice, its bravura, its ambition, its harrowing corners, and the dense rich tiny core of love at its glowing, radiant center. In Matthew’s admittedly hard world, the tiniest kindnesses echo and amplify, returning to him larger and louder, until they each become glorious---huge bursts of such grace and truth that more than once, I had to stop reading and weep at the sheer hope-soaked beauty of it. I loved this book cover to cover and word by word; I want to give it to everyone I care for, and I want to keep it for myself to reread over and over. You will, too.” --Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty
"Original and affecting. Filer's ability to capture Matthew's voice shows a special talent." --Heidi W. Durrow, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
"In the ruins of a family exploded by grief, a brilliant madman wrestles a narrative from his disintegrated life. What emerges is both quietly horrifying and surprisingly beautiful: a portrait of family love. Unsentimental, frank, and strange, Filer's narrator is the most likable nut since Kesey's ‘Chief.’ He's funny and sad and mad, and he brought me through smiles to tears and back. What moved me the most however was not the tragedy at the story's center, but the sketches Filer draws around the edges: the mother losing her grip from holding too tight, the father stalwartly supporting his sons, the girl who stands up for what she has lost. Memories can destroy or redeem you, depending on how you recreate them. Who better to teach this lesson than a lunatic? I can't stop talking about this book. Looking for a fantastic read, a few laughs and a good cry? You've found it. The Shock of the Fall is a fresh smart book with a big daft heart." --Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine
"A terrific debut: engaging, funny and inventive.” -- Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine
“A unique new voice, that in its humour, stark honesty and intriguing mix of bitterness and humanity will touch the hearts of every reader. A haunting, beautiful, unputdownable debut.”
--Abigail Tarttelin, author of Golden Boy
“Nathan Filer has done something special. It’s rare that an author offers such an authentic and unflinching view into the mind of a character; Matthew Homes is as fully realized a protagonist as I have ever encountered. It won’t take long for readers to fall in love.” --Matthew Dicks, author of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend
"A heartfelt story of a family learning to pick up the pieces in the wake of tragedy . . . the voice always felt real and authentic. I ached for Matthew and his family and was thoroughly captivated by their story." –Real Simple
"Skillfully done books transcend age categories. This helps explain the success of such books as ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ and ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower,’ and the endurance of ‘The Catcher in the Rye.’ ‘Where the Moon Isn’t’ is indeed skillfully done, with drama enough to lure teen readers and sophistication enough to keep adults entranced." –Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The story Filer tells is deeply affecting and insightful in its account of mental illness. And Matthew is a character the reader won’t soon forget.” – Booklist
“A startlingly authentic portrayal of the rigors and tribulations of navigating the modern health care landscape while struggling with mental illness . . . 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.” –Kirkus
“In this very assured debut, performance poet and mental-health nurse Filer shows that he knows what he’s writing about. It should prove catnip to book group participants (especially those who loved Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and will appeal to anyone looking for a serious (but not ponderous) story that’s impossible to put down. Readers might even end up seeing some similarities between their lives and the ‘cut and paste kind of life’ Matthew lives as a ‘service user’ in a National Health Service facility.” –Library Journal, starred review
"A meditation on mental illness, a family drama and mystery, a coming-of-age story – all wrapped up in a caring, imaginative story about a boy and his brother." –Shelf Awareness, starred review "This is a tale told beautifully in the innocent voice of a perennial child and misfit . . . Filer deftly paints a series of vignettes of Matthew’s chaotic search for solace that successively unveils the mysteries surrounding his brother." –Washington Independent Review of Books
"A gripping and exhilarating read . . . Matt is heroic in his fortitude and resilience."
–The Guardian, UK
"Filer develops Matthew's character with immense sympathy and sensitivity and the simple prose is spot on as the plain, honest voice of a teenager. Gripping . . . a poignant, moving story."
–The Independent, UK