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Summary

A Short History of Falling - like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and When Breath Becomes Air - is a searingly beautiful, profound and unforgettable memoir that finds light and even humour in the darkest of places.

As I get weaker, less a part of this world, or less a part of what I love, less a part of my family’s life, I can perceive its edges with fantastic clarity. I can lie against it, lolling my arm over the edge, running my fingers around the rim. And this is where I am.

In 2018, Joe Hammond, wrote a piece for the Guardian about the 33 birthday cards he was writing for his two sons. It was shared by thousands. In A Short History of Falling he tells the story behind that piece, about the experience of living with - and dying of - motor neurone disease (ALS).

A Short History of Falling is not a lament. It is a deeply imaginative meditation on what it feels like to confront the fact that your family will persist through time without you. It’s a book about love and about fatherhood. But it’s also an extraordinary kind of travel writing: an unblinking account of a journey into unlighted territory and of what it means to lose your body and your connections to the world one by one.

This astonishing, luminous book will truly change the way you see the world.

©2019 Joe Hammond (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"It is Hammond’s curiosity about death and his desire to report from the front line that makes this such a strangely invigorating read...his testimony deserves a place on the shelf beside When Breath Becomes Air and Late Fragments." (Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love)

"His voice is captivating, his observations are searing, and his book is a blessing. This book will inspire you even as it breaks your heart." (Kathryn Mannix, author of With the End in Mind)

"I loved this book, and read it in a day. It's surprising and uncommon and I don't think I'll ever forget it." (Sunjeev Sahota, author of The Year of the Runaways)

What listeners say about A Short History of Falling

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Awful awful

Oh I feel like a POS for saying this but the writing as bad as it is, is only surpassed by the hideous narration.

Rambling descriptions with too many similes and metaphors ruin a harrowing story. I had to give up after 20 mins. There were too many weird directions where the thread of the story was lost in over laboured descriptions & irrelevant side items. It was almost impossible to follow what or where the narrative was. Of course, all of that is completely forgivable because the author is not, in fact, an author- he is just a person, telling his moving story how he wants to. But to then give the gig to a narrator who evidently has little regard for consonants or punctuation, was the final straw.

My advice is to buy the book/e-book/kindle, so you can skim the rambles, swerve the narrator but still give this author and his legacy your money

5 people found this helpful

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What a beautiful book , thank you ❤️

What a beautiful book, thank you ❤️ A thought provoking, sad, inspirational audio book. Well done ! X

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing and inspirational

This book is an amazing read I loved listening to Russel tovey narrate joes book he did a wonderful job!
Joe is truely amazing to write this powerful book on his feelings when he got diagnosed with mnd and the ups and downs that come with it. He has shared his past with us and his present, he made me laugh out loud and sob like a baby. Definitely worth listening to

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A moving but non saccharine story.

I feel honored to have been allowed to hear Joe's thoughts and feelings about this difficult time of his life. Russell Tovey is the perfect narrator for this work.

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Wonderful

Loved this deeply moving, real and life filled account of dying. What a gift to your children Joe

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beautiful and powerful

I have a nuro condition the author put into words feelings I cant so beautifuly