Jon McGregor is nothing if not inventive and challenging – and “Lean Fall Stand” is both of those things.
The primary action of the novel (covered in the ‘Lean’ part of the story) concerns an ill-fated expedition in Antarctica. The rest of the novel – ‘Fall’ and ‘Stand’ – narrates the post-expedition experiences of Doc Wright once he has been rescued.
If the first section is a difficult read as we experience the tragedy of – and Doc’s unravelling in – an Antarctic storm, then the sections concerning his – and his wife’s – struggles as he begins his recuperation from the stroke he suffered there are raw and brutal.
“Lean Fall Stand” is a brave and imaginative piece of writing tackling a truly difficult subject with sensitivity and directness. It is not for the feint-hearted.