The Fell by Robert Jenkins
“perhaps Ulysses meets Lord of the Flies…”
RedDoor Publishing, London, 2019
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A young boy lives an idyllic life in a fading and peeling Lido where his father is a lifeguard. He idolises his father – never more so than when he saves the life of a suicidal man. The boy comes to believe that heroism is all.
Later that summer, the arrest of his sister brings the halcyon days to an abrupt end and his family is torn apart. With Lilly sent to jail, the boy is sent to a boarding house for dysfunctional youths far away from home – The Fell. The boys band together against their enemies, both real and imagined, they become family.
The boy sees the world and his place in it through a unique lens. He meets ghosts, hears voices and battles his fears. What he never does, however, is question his own reality.
When the boys’ fear and hatred of authority comes to a head, everything is thrown into disarray and his actions lead him to run from The Fell. And run, and run…
Goodreads review: A potent story of love, loss and power told through the lens of an unnamed teenage boy encourages the reader to think critically about the power relationships between adults and young people. On the boys journey to manhood Robert invites the reader to observe the protagonists widening experience of love as the story shifts from family to friends to early romantic love. At times graphic and brutal, but also full of love, warmth, humour and hope this gripping story engages every emotion. Given that the story is told from a teenage boys perspective it is likely to resonate particularly with men, but as a woman reader I was opened to experiences that are beyond my reach and I appreciate that. This book is a rare gem.