Originally published: 9 December 2021
Author: West Camel
Published by: Orenda
Length: 276 pages
Reading dates: 1-5 December 2021
Twins Aaron and Clive have been estranged for forty years. Aaron still lives in the empty, crumbling tower block on the riverside in Deptford where they grew up. Clive is a successful property developer, determined to turn the tower into luxury flats.
But Aaron is blocking the plan and their petty squabble becomes something much greater when two ghosts from the past – twins Annette and Christine – appear in the tower. At once, the desolate estate becomes a stage on which the events of one scorching summer are relived – a summer that changed their lives forever.
Evocative, thought-provoking and exquisitely written, Fall is an unforgettable story of friendship and family – of perception, fear and prejudice, the events that punctuate our journeys into adulthood, and the indelible scars they leave…
Aaron and Clive are twin brothers in their early 60s who have been estranged for over 40 years – Aaron still lives in his childhood home, a tower block in Deptford and is refusing to sell his flat to Clive’s architectural company who wish to demolish the block and build a new development.
They boys moved to the Deptford Strand estate when they were 10 years old. Their mother Zoe Goldsworthy was a leading architect and designed the estate – it was primarily council housing but Zoe had a dream of living in the community she hoped her building would encourage so purchased the flat for her the boys.
The story takes us back to the summer of 1976 – the boys have just finished their A-levels and are waiting for the next stage in their lives when they meet Annette and Christine who are also twins, a couple of years older than the boys. They instantly hit it off and the four becomes friends, the boys captivated by the girls’ life style and friends.
When the girls start hosting parties, the residents start looking at ways of stopping them, blaming their behaviour on the fact that they are black and “don’t belong”. As the story gradually unravels we learn what happened in that summer that caused Aaron and Clive to stop talking.
Fall was a remarkable read that was utterly compelling. West Camel has a talent for drawing out the story and delivering tension and surprises throughout. Fall is a story of family relationships between siblings and their parents, of racism which was still rife in the 1970s. A well structured novel that held my attention throughout, Fall is observant and executed impeccably.
Many thanks to Anne for the invite to the tour and to Orenda for a proof copy. Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers taking part in the tour over on Instagram and on their blogs!
About the author:
Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch. He currently combines his work as editorial director at Orenda with editing The Riveter magazine and RivetingReviews for the European Literature Network.
He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. His debut novel, Attend was published in 2018, and was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize and longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. His second novel, Fall will be published in December 2021.