Matthew Homes is a vividly memorable and insightful narrator who pulls the reader in from the start with wit and charm. As he explores his descent into schizophrenia and confronts his role in the boyhood death of his older brother ten years ago, there is an almost unbearable sense of suspense. Matthew builds up an intense portrait of a family haunted by death and illness
This debut novel by Nathan Filer is a stunning arrival onto the fiction scene. Filer, who is currently a mental health nurse in Bristol has penned a novel which will for obvious reasons be compared to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest but for me it’s a totally new voice that does not need comparing.
You feel that sadness that Matthew experiences when his younger brother falls off the cliff on a family holiday and on page 63 he writes “this is far more difficult than I thought, thinking about the past is like digging graves”
The author gives you an insight into the unknown world of mental health, a world I never venture or knew about. This is the book that might finally break the taboo of talking about mental illness, how society deals with it, helps us gain an understanding of what it’s really like to suffer. The book provides a window out to the “normal world”.
It’s an amazing additive book, one which I just could not put down, as you read it you realise that a traumatic incident has happened to the family and the grief and loss of losing a loved one resonates from the story. The last quarter of the story you feel you are in the room with Matthew, in his life as he tries to finally break free. I read the last 10 pages holding my breath and once finished just sitting there for an hour whilst I recovered from it. As I read the book I felt like I was going deeper into a black hole trying to find the answers.
After a period of treatment Matthew is allow to move out into the community and live by himself and there are wonderful passages of the book describing how each parent deals with this and there is a very moving scene where he has a falling out with his Mum.