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Where the Moon Isn't: A Novel Hardcover – November 5, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1ST edition (November 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250026989
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250026989
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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

Review

“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 Where the Moon Isn’t. 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. Where The Moon Isn't 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

Customer Reviews

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Such a well written and compelling story line.
Heather Shumway
The story of a boy who, folllowing a traumatic childhood event, develops schizophrenia.
rosie
Lovely book, the kind you read from start to end never wanting to stop.
Ligia A. B. Miquelin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Sara VINE VOICE on November 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Where the Moon Isn't begins with the recounting of a childhood memory by the 19-year old narrator Matthew. This memory, which may seem, to the reader, odd at best and unimportant at worst, has stayed with Matthew his entire life as a defining moment that set in motion a choice that ended in the death of his older brother, Simon. Now, Matthew is telling his story - and his brother's story - as he attempts to bring his brother back. Matthew is convinced he's found a way to do this: by going off the meds that keep his schizophrenia - and his brother - at bay. As Matthew tells his story, the reader struggles to unravel the truth from Matthew's version, which one can never take completely at face value, as it meanders through past and present, sometimes linear, sometimes repetitively, but always with a steady, persistent goal: finding Simon.

I cannot stress how much important I think this novel is. It deals with a myriad of topics, most notably mental illness, in a raw, honest way that readers won't soon forget. I was incredibly moved by Where the Moon Isn't... not just by Matthew and Simon's story, but by the stories of even the secondary characters. I can't talk about this book without my heart breaking and my eyes filling with tears because it's obvious that Filer has first hand experience with the issues he writes about in this book. My mother has spent most of her life working with for Community Mental Health of Michigan, so throughout my life I had the pleasure of meeting some of the most absolutely wonderful people who are saddled with mental and physical deficiencies. Filer gives these individuals a voice with Where the Moon Isn't. This book is a compelling mystery with engaging psychological elements, but, because of the author's heart and deft hand, it is also so much more.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Janina on November 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Where the Moon Isn't was a story I didn't really know what to expect going into reading it. I hadn't seen any reviews for it, but the synopsis had me very curious and intrigued. Even though I had no I idea what to expect when I started this book, it was still so unexpected. This was is a mystery that you yearned to know what happened on that night and how things would end. You know something bad happens, but you just don't know what. You want to know why Matthew is the way he is. What had me so intrigued with the story was the writing style of the author and how he went about creating this story. I've not read a book quite like this before. Being in the mind of Matthew was hard at times. We get to know him through his past memories when he was child and also in the present. But Matthew isn't an average person, so reading from his POV could be a pain at times. He flips through memories so quickly, but the memories were very important in getting to know him and the pain that he has been going through all these years. Matthew has a mental illness and we learn about it in pieces. The death of his older brother Simon when they were kids started to mess with his mind. Simon had special needs. This story was painful to read. I wouldn't say it was emotional for me to read about, the pain of the situations and having to painful unravel all the painful memories that Matt was reliving was just really hard to read about.

I found the book to be great in certain aspects (things I've mentioned previously), but there were also some things that I had trouble with at first. Even though I came to love the writing of the author, it took me a couple chapters to really get into the story and understand the writing. But once I understood the writing I really came to love it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kiwiflora on January 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Winner of the 2013 Costa First Novel Award.

The author works in the mental health service of the NHS. He is also, according to his website, a performance poet, of some note in the UK. Such a person as this must have a remarkable insight into the human mind, and also possess the gift to put it all into word pictures for the rest of us.

It was a real privilege to be let into the mind and soul of a schizophrenic young man who realises things aren't quite right, but seems determined to overcome the problems he is currently facing. Matthew is 19 years old and is narrating the story of the last 10 years of his life. It is 10 years since his brother, who was 12, died while the family was on holiday at a camping ground. His brother, Simon, had Downs Syndrome. The family was a close knit one, and Matthew describes his parents, his grandparents and his brother in loving and descriptive words. Simon's death, for which Matthew feels 100% responsible, affects everyone very, very deeply. His parents sink into their own awful grief, Matthew blames himself and as the years pass feels increasingly unable to cope with daily life due to this enormous burden he carries around with him. His grandmother, Nanny Noo, is the one constant in his life, always there, always compassionate - the one really significant adult in his life.

The one thing Matthew never loses during these years is his ability to write down what he is going through and this becomes the one therapy that helps him get through a trauma that just won't let him go. The narration covers the 10 years from the day of the death to the present, but jumps around a bit during the years of this time period, which does take a little concentration, as he seems, to me, to be in and out of hospital quite a bit!
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