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Summary

The highly anticipated new novel from the Costa-award winning, three-times Booker-longlisted author of Reservoir 13

When an Antarctic research expedition goes wrong, the consequences are far-reaching - for the men involved and for their families back home.

Robert 'Doc' Wright, a veteran of Antarctic field work, holds the clues to what happened, but he is no longer able to communicate them. While Anna, his wife, navigates the sharp contours of her new life as a carer, Robert is forced to learn a whole new way to be in the world.

Award-winning novelist Jon McGregor returns with a stunning novel that mesmerisingly and tenderly unpicks the notion of heroism and explores the indomitable human impulse to tell our stories - even when words fail us. A meditation on the line between sacrifice and selfishness this is a story of the undervalued, unrecognised courage it can take just to get through the day.

©2021 Jon McGregor (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"A genuine masterpiece: poised, multilayered and full of the most astonishingly beautiful prose." (Alex Preston, Observer)

"It leaves the reader moved and subtly changed, as if she had become part of the story." (Hilary Mantel)

"So moving and delicate and terrifying and haunting." (Maggie O’Farrell)

What listeners say about Lean Fall Stand

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Not A Gripping Drama Set In Antarctica

NB this novel is in three parts: Lean, Fall and Stand. Lean is a gripping drama set in Antarctica. But Fall and Stand are the story of recovering what you can after **Spoiler Alert Spoiler Alert** a stroke. Taken as a whole the novel is a coherent narrative, but if you want an ice-bound adventure, give up after Lean. Please don’t though. You’ll be missing out on what Jon McGregor is brilliant at, why we all need him so much, why I guzzle up his books as soon as I hear about him. Here’s an example: one of the characters has a stroke. Most writers, at that point, would move the first person perspective away from that character. The perspective has been switching between the characters anyway. But McGregor continues - in turn - seeing the world as that character, even as words and sense begin ebbing away. One of McGregor’s hallmarks is writing proper, carefully considered gibberish where it’s required. Another is repetition; another is a generally slow pace. You need patience. Then, in this novel anyway, Jon McGregor takes you, with honest, deliberate thoroughness, into one of your dark places, with a candle.

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Sorry, not for me

I managed 10 chapters, skipping bits, before giving up. I found it slow and depressing

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Communication

Never has there been so many ways to communicate, and never has there been such a lack of communication. Excellent book.