English Monsters (Hardback)James Scudamore (author)
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'James Scudamore is now a force in the English novel' Hilary Mantel
'Breathtakingly good. Imagine Edward St Aubyn writing The Secret History and you'll get an idea of how exquisite and compelling this story about male friendship and betrayal is' Alex Preston, Observer - *Fiction to Look Out for in 2020*
When ten-year-old Max is sent to boarding school, his idyllic childhood comes to an abrupt end. Away from the magical freedom of his grandfather's farm, a world of unfathomable rules and arbitrary punishment awaits. But so too does the companionship of a close-knit group of classmates.
Years later, as Max and his friends face down adulthood, a dark secret from their schooldays is revealed, drawing them together in unforeseen ways. Who knew what, and when? And who is now willing to see justice done, regardless of the cost to themselves?
Spanning several decades, English Monsters is a story of bonds between men - some nurturing, others devastating. It explores what happens when care is outsourced in the name of building resilience and character, and presents a beautiful and moving portrait of friendship.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 592 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 34 mm
Breathtakingly good. Imagine Edward St Aubyn writing The Secret History and you'll get an idea of how exquisite and compelling this story about male friendship and betrayal is -- Alex Preston * Observer *
Heart-wrenching... A searing indictment of a culture that downplays and covers up horrors... Harrowing, deeply moving and richly insightful, this is Scudamore's best novel yet -- Philip Womack * Financial Times *
The pages bubble with quiet rage about an elite education system that wrecks even those it elevates... Scudamore is here for the long haul -- John Self * Spectator *
There are few prizes that Scudamore hasn't been nominated for, and English Monsters will only add to his impressive tally... Scudamore's insights are keen and his masterfully evocative writing never less than assured... His descriptions of [Max's schooldays] etch themselves into your brain * Daily Mail *
Written in cool, clear-eyed prose, English Monsters is a taut psychological thriller and an astute comment on the institutional neuroses that now haunt our nation -- Amanda Craig * Daily Telegraph *
English Monsters is a tremendously moving novel. What can be done in the face of unspeakable and complicated trauma? What if silence, action, vengeance and loyalty fail the person in need? James Scudamore has given us a timely, provocative work allowing past and present, with all their truths and apprehensions, to shift like rising waters. -- Madeleine Thien
Scudamore deftly balances creepiness and tenderness...while retaining a cool anger at the imperial mindset that the boarding school system cultivates... English Monsters is one of the most well-observed novels I've read on the way that childhood abuse lingers into adulthood. -- Johanna Thomas-Corr * Observer *
[English Monsters] has echoes of Edward St Aubyn's (more sardonic) Patrick Melrose series and Hanya Yanagihara's (more lurid) A Little Life. It contains resonant phrases...on almost every page * Sunday Times *
English Monsters has the pace and intensity of the best kind of thriller, married to an almost unbearable poignancy. I've never read a novel as good and wise on trauma as it moves through the generations, but with such a light touch. There are moments in it that will stay with me forever -- Evie Wyld
A slow-burn chiller... An intelligent novel in which the horror lies not in explicit scenes of cruelty but rather in Scudamore's lack of squeamishness about his subject's queasier psychological corners -- Anthony Cummins * Metro *
Dark, tender, troubling... It is impossible to read these pages and not to think of the present blight of emotionally cauterised boarding-school politicians whose various pathologies, fantasies and defence mechanisms Britain must continue to endure... [English Monsters] render[s] the dense and knotted contours of pain and shame and guilt in the hearts of the victims...with commendable imaginative skill and honesty. -- Edward Docx * Guardian *
A very impressive novel. Scudamore lightly, deftly conjures the closed world of an institution in which the men who spin the boys' future are both magicians and monsters. The damage of patriarchy plays down the generations, its story told by a young outsider who more or less got away -- Sarah Moss
I'd like to recommend...James Scudamore's English Monsters, a beautifully written meditation on the kind of English masculinity from which out current leaders suffer. -- Sarah Moss * Times Literary Supplement *
Scudamore is skilled at creating atmosphere... A gripping meditation on class relations and formative friendships. -- Laura Paterson * Irish News *
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