8 April 2014

Ian Cross: The God Boy (1957)

Ian Cross's New Zealand classic The God Boy reads at first like a young adult novel, until you realise that this is interstitial literature narrated by a thirteen-year-old boy recalling his previous life, in particular the disturbing events which occurred when he was eleven: the truth is often between the lines, part of which others hide from him, part of which he hides in self-deception.

Jimmy Sullivan is the narrator, a New Zealander of Irish descent whose parents send him to a Roman Catholic school and in whose God he at first wholly believes, although strong doubts come into play towards the end of the book.

In the background to the story, the background to Jimmy's consciousness, are the fights Jimmy's parents have, although the background becomes the foreground and he's very much aware of some things, aware of the alcoholism of his father, of his frequent taunting of his wife which lead his mother to desperate measures.

It will be a while before Jimmy comes to realise that his mother's not in hospital but in jail for killing her husband. Obviously though, Jimmy himself is also a victim, mentally destroyed by his dysfunctional family.

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