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, Richards 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, Bills 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 Richards 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 peoples lives are not always what they seem.
This novel is about a man who isn’t happy with his life. He feels cornered and yearns for something more… more adventure, more mental stimulation, less suffocation. He longs for the life of his neighbour across the road, peaceful and quiet, with no children to be entertained every minute of the day.
‘Maybe I’m a straight-line type of person who has accidentally chosen a circular life’
But is that life really as idyllic as he makes out?
Drift Tumble Fall is a novel made up of many quiet qualities and I enjoyed reading about both Richard and Bill’s lives equally. It seems they are two sides of a coin. At first it looks like one side is shining more brightly but all that glitters isn’t gold. The simmering emotions Richard goes through with regard to his marriage and parenthood will probably be a familiar feeling for many readers. Life is draining and time is slipping away. Richard is pretty relatable when he voices thoughts that are still kind of taboo to speak out loud. But haven’t we all been envious of someone else’s life that seems so much better than the one we have? Or am I the only one?
This novel surprised me quite a bit. First I was surprised with the way Richard chose to deal with his life. I didn’t really expect him to handle his idea how he decided was the way to go – he didn’t really explore other options either – but in the end my slight admiration for his audacity that I had at the start came to a stop and I found him to be quite egoistic and self-centered, a bit whiney as well because I became aware that he was one lucky bloke with his family. I became apprehensive whether he would really go through with his plans. I couldn’t quite believe it but it seemed nothing could stop him. I was hoping he would change his mind because I could see what he had and I wished he would come to that realisation as well but nothing seemed to get through to him.
It’s actually his neighbour, the one with the seemingly idyllic life, that will put a different light on the story. He did lead the quiet life Richard longs for but it’s a life that stems from tragedy and sadness, and is still eating away at him… and it’s an enormous reminder that you really never know what’s going on behind someone else’s door!
Drift Stumble Fall had a very reverberating plotline that is sure to touch everyone who reads this novel. It’s a very reflective novel and it didn’t miss its effect on me either. I might feel just a little bit happier about the path I chose in life than before I read this novel. Give it a chance and see how you feel once you’ve read it!
I received a free copy from the publisher, Hideaway Fall, in exchange for my honest opinion.