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Knowing how to fall is much more valuable than knowing how to walk.

'The Fall is a moving portrait of a relationship with a child and a place. It is a rare book: by turns heartbreaking, angry and lyrical' – Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare With Amber Eyes.

Step 1: Tito has cerebral palsy.

Step 2: I blame Tito’s cerebral palsy on Pietro Lombardo.

Join Diogo Mainardi and his son Tito in a journey of 424 steps, starting with Tito’s disastrous birth in Venice, in Lombardo’s Renaissance hospital.

It’s a journey full of joy and reflection, and an honest exploration of fatherhood. It’s a journey that follows the arc of Western culture, from Dante Alighieri, Rembrandt van Rijn and Claude Monet to Marcel Proust, Neil Young and Assassin’s Creed, to show how one boy’s fate has been shaped by history.

Above all, it’s a celebration of love and courage, and of the hope and faith we place in our children.


The Fall is a mercurial and enriching walk through 'off-script' fatherhood, cerebral palsy, art history and this commonplace mystery, love. The Fall is wise and kind and moving

David Mitchell

The Fall is a moving portrait of a relationship with a child and a place. It is a rare book: by turns heartbreaking, angry and lyrical

Edmund de Waal

A wise and unsentimental description of what it is like to be parent to a child with cerebral palsy—an episodic portrait of a very intimate paternal journey

Andrew Solomon, National Book Awardâ??winning author of Far From the Tree

A poignant, beautiful book, angry and inquiring, lyrical and literate

Iain Finlayson, Saga

A remarkable celebration...intensely moving, rational, literate, and an absolute joy to read from start to finish

John Berendt, New York Times bestâ??selling author of In the Garden of Good and Evil and The City of Fallen Angels

Fathering a disabled child, like the plaza outside the Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo to which Diogo Mainardi consistently returns, is uneven terrain. In The Fall, Mainardi traverses that terrain in 434 lucid, deeply arresting steps

Ron Suskind, Pultizer Prizeâ??winning journalist and author of Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism

Clever without showing off. Moving without being sentimental

Me and my Big Mouth

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback


    May 15, 2014

    Harvill Secker

    156 pages

    RRP $27.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
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    • Abbey's Bookshop
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    • Robinsons Bookshop
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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    May 8, 2014

    Vintage Digital

    156 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
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    • Kobo Ebook
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    • eBooks