Lean Fall Stand
by Jon Mcgregor
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Remember the training: find shelter or make shelter, remain in place, establish contact with other members of the party, keep moving, keep calm.
Robert 'Doc' Wright, a veteran of Antarctic surveying, was there on the ice when the worst happened. He holds within him the complete story of that night—but depleted by the disaster, Wright is no longer able to communicate the truth. Instead, in the wake of the catastrophic expedition, he faces the most daunting adventure of his life: learning a whole new way to be in the world. Meanwhile Anna, his wife, must suddenly scramble to navigate the sharp and unexpected contours of life as a caregiver.
From the Booker Prize-longlisted, American Academy of Arts & Letters Award-winning author of Reservoir 13, this is a novel every bit as mesmerizing as its setting. Tenderly unraveling different notions of heroism through the rippling effects of one extraordinary expedition on an ordinary family, Lean Fall Stand explores the indomitable human impulse to turn our experiences into stories—even when the words may fail us.
"Lean Fall Stand is a spectacular book. So moving and delicate and terrifying and haunting; such a skillful evocation of our fragility and strength. It does what Jon McGregor does so well: examine the widening ripples of a single event. I read it again, as soon as I'd finished." ––Maggie O'Farrell
"Lean Fall Stand is a beautiful piece of work and should win a roomful of prizes. Jon McGregor writes plainly and exactly, like a poet, and the precision of his writing makes every heart-beat register. The quality of his attention is a flicker of light around the fragile human condition, and it leaves the reader moved and subtly changed, as if she had become part of the story."
“Utterly original. Jaw-dropping. Lean Fall Stand is the sort of book you’ll think about for ages.” —Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train
"Lean Fall Stand is a bold and masterful investigation into the weather system of the human mind.” —Max Porter
"In the opening pages of Lean Fall Stand one of the main characters puzzles how to capture the incomprehensible vastness of Antarctica in a still photograph. He needs something for scale, something our puny human minds can latch onto to help us understand, and the struggle to communicate properly what we need each other to see and hear becomes the thematic through line for the book. I loved every sentence of this haunting novel." —Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes
"Another McGregor novel that, beneath its serene surface, takes huge risks . . . Fortunately, it’s also another McGregor novel that triumphantly gets away with it . . . McGregor commits himself so wholeheartedly to the project of honouring minutiae (and has the literary talent to match) that the scene when post-stroke Doc first learns to touch his nose feels almost as dramatic as an Antarctic blizzard." —James Walton, The Times
"Jon McGregor’s new novel . . . opens as excitingly as any work of fiction I’ve recently read . . . It’s extraordinarily tense and atmospheric—and McGregor’s prose is tight as a wire." —The Telegraph
"Jon McGregor’s latest has the most thrilling beginning I’ve read in a novel for some time . . . It’s a deft sleight of hand—to seduce readers with a spectacular action narrative before giving them an entirely different novel about how we communicate—but regular readers of McGregor will know that it’s the unsensational drama contained within the ordinary that interests him as a writer." —Claire Allfree, Daily Mail
"Above all, this is a novel about language: how we fail it as much as it fails us . . . McGregor’s precise, well-judged prose attests to both the power of language and to the havoc created by its loss." —Financial Times
"The breathtaking opening chapters describe a research expedition which goes horribly and fatally wrong. It starts out as a white-knuckle ride of a story, before Mr McGregor changes course . . . With skill and compassion Mr. McGregor evokes an underfunded social-care system as well as the determination and inventiveness of its workers . . . This fine novel is reminiscent of A Change of Climate, Hilary Mantel’s novel of 1994, with its shifting perspectives and emphasis on a single, life-altering event. The far-ranging human story in Lean Fall Stand simultaneously unfolds and enfolds." —The Economist