IN LOCO PARENTIS - 'In Local Parentis is terrific, start to finish.' Charlie Stella IN LOCO PARENTIS is the debut novel of the prize-winning author of the critically acclaimed Dirty Old Town (And Other Stories). Joe Campion is the kind of teacher that any child would want for their class. He's also the kind of teacher that lots of mothers want to have. And some of them do. When he becomes aware of the neglect and abuse suffered by a pupil in his care and witnesses an explosion of rage from the music teacher in the school, he decides the systems in place to deal with such instances aren't fit for purpose. His impulsive nature, dedication to his pupils and his love of women lead him into a chain of events that would cause even the most consummate professional to unravel. 'I consider Bird to be an heir to a British literary tradition: the works of Alan Sillitoe, John Braine, and others from the late 1950s and early '60s…[featuring] young anti-heroes who clash with staid society.' Mets6986 'In Loco Parentis is a rare and devastating book.' Chris Rhatigan 'Beautiful, painful and excruciatingly brilliant writing.' McDroll 'Mr Bird is a master. [He] leads you, heart in mouth, all the way to the end.' Nicola Rain Jordan 'The real deal.' Les Edgerton 'A fantastic writer.' Donald Ray Pollock 'A dark near-masterpiece.' James Mowry 'Nigel's first-person narrator has personality and verve, a unique voice that sets the writing head and shoulders above and apart.' Elaine Ash SMOKE - 'Grim, but really good.' Ian Rankin DIRTY OLD TOWN - 'A rare talent.' Allan Guthrieread more
I have read Bird's short stories before and found a lot of faults. However, for some reason (perhaps because it was free?) I picked up his first novel for my Kindle. Wow. There is a world of difference here. Maybe having to work at such length has cured Bird of his tendency to write artificial, contrived tales that inevitably end badly. This is a brutal, expletive-filled, but very well written book that brings both its characters and its surroundings to life.IN LOCO PARENTIS grabbed me from the start with its narrative voice, a British teacher just beginning his Summer break. Pretty soon, we learn about his problems, which may be a bit heavy, but are portrayed with a great deal of truth. He is in love with his stepsister, which just seems wrong to him. He is also involved with the married mother of one of his students. A depressed friend has moved into his apartment. And those are just the beginning of his worries. When the plot takes a really really big turn for the worse almost exactly halfway through, I thought it might be all downhill from there, writing-wise. But Bird keeps things under control as events start to spiral even deeper into the blackest pit you can imagine. The book isn't perfect, but in Joe Campion, Bird has created a believable, highly disturbed character, that it is hard to take your eyes off of. I wonder what happens next for Joe--but I'm almost afraid to find out.Highly recommended, if you like your stories dark.read more
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