About Drift Stumble Fall
Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility. From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richard's existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door locked, wondering how on earth he can escape. Often staring out of his window, Richard enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, his neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From the outside, Bill's world appears filled with comfort and peace. Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined. Beneath the surface, a family tragedy has left Bill frozen in time and unable to move on. As he waits for a daughter who may never return, Bill watches Richard's bustling family life and yearns for the joy it brings. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other people's lives are not always what they seem.
My review of Drift Stumble Fall
I first stumbled across M Jonathan Lee when I read Broken Branches last year. I loved it, and couldn't wait to read further work by this author. I was so excited to read Drift Stumble Fall, hoping that it would live up to my expectations, and my goodness, so it dId. This is a remarkable book thst explores and opens up a wide range of emotions. A gentle book that explores what it is to be human, and to live for every day.
The book focuses upon the lives of two men. We have Richard, the working man, the husband, the father of two who yearns for a different life of solitude. He dreams of the day that he can walk away from everything and start a new life. He just needs a plan. On paper you would think that Richard is an utterly unlikeable character, but, in fact, I found him to be hugely likeable. Who hasn't felt like this at some point? I could empathise with him. The dreams that he had, although I knew what he yearned for was wrong, in the deceiving of his family.
Richard wants to escape it all, the black cloud hanging over his head. The themes of mental health, anxiety, and depression run throughout the veins of this book. They are ever present, but they don't overpower the narrative. It's strange to say, but the book is not a downcast or depressing read. It's a thought provoking one. Making us question our own lives, what we value is important, and what we would do, if anything, to change that situation.
It explores life's expectations. Those that we place upon ourselves, when comparing our lives to others, and what others expect from us. Richard compares his life to Bill's, the elderly man who lives opposite him. To the outside world, here is a man who seems to have no pressures in life, no commitments, as he can always be seen standing at his window watching the day go by. But as the book explores, looks can be deceiving and the grass is not always greener on the other side.
Drift Stumble Fall is a gentle book that packs a punch. I was lulled into its steady beat of daily life, but when the ending came, with all of its revelations, it left me reeling.
This is a book about the human condition, about the sense of family, but that sometimes, even when surrounded by family, you can feel very much alone. It's a thought provoking read.
With thanks to the publisher for the Advanced Reader Copy.
Drift Stumble Fall is published on the 12 April by Hideaway Fall. It can be found on Amazon here.