Cuckoo Boy Review Snippets

The Guardian, Catherine Taylor

‘Enterprising new publisher To Hell With states its intent with Gillespie’s emotionally visceral debut. The spectre of Lionel Shriver’s Kevin is omnipresent, particularly in the black comedy and ambiguous aspects of the tale. Yet this is a confident, impressive work in its own right. First Novels

The Observer, Mary Fitzgerald

‘Through James and David, Gillespie explores the chasm between how children and adults perceive the world, and the devastating consequences of falling through this gap. The Cuckoo Boy is a savage indictment of hypocrisy and forced social convention.’ Debut Fiction

Irish Examiner Review, Dan MacCarthy

‘With strong parallels to Golding’s Lord of the Flies which demonstrated the savage nature of humanity detached from civilisation, Gillespie’s superb debut avers that such isolation is possible within our own societies and that the consequences can be tragic. In this case, the mob rules.

Inside Books, Simon Quicke

‘Very clever…this book is both relevant and provocative. It might not be comfortable reading but as a way of taking a reader on a journey, which good books should do, into the mind of a unloved and desperate child it delivers.’

Farm Lane Books Blog Review Jackie@ Farm Lane Books Blog

Many episodes are quite chilling. It reminded me of The Fifth Child and classic Gothic ghost stories. It’s especially good for discussions about whether children are born evil or whether it’s the fault of the parents and I was impressed by the way in which the emotions of motherhood were accurately described. It’s gripping and thought provoking, but also contains many of the amusing observations that only young children can get away with. There were so many talking points that I’m sure I could spend hours discussing it – making it a perfect book club choice.’

JustWilliamsLuck.blogspot.com, William Rycroft

‘It would be easy to expect an actor to be good at writing dialogue or creating a narrative voice (in fact most actors are terrible at improvising dialogue that sounds real – never underestimate the skills of the playwright!) but Gillespie deserves genuine credit for what he achieves with all his cast and particularly with James and David.’

The Bookbag, Louise Laurie

‘Fine comic lines throughout. It is a fine piece of writing. Who is right? Who is wrong? A deeply thought-provoking book. Recommended.’

Dovegreyreader.co.uk, Lynne Hatwell

‘Grant Gillespie is a wizard, an absolute natural at dialogue and inner voice with an omniscient narrator who sifts out all those perceptive angles.’

Forbidden Planet International – Best Books of the Year, Doug Wallace

‘To Hell picked up the amazing Grant Gillespie’s debut. The unique thing about this book is that Gillespie is able to step inside the head of the main character, his mother and his father and make you really feel like he was there.’

JustWilliamsLuck.blogspot.com, William Rycroft

‘Therefore next week I’ll be letting you know my thoughts on the first release on their To Hell With First Novels list: The Cuckoo Boy by Grant Gillespie. (to hell with waiting that long to find out whether it’s any good or not though – it’s really good)’

Dovegreyreader.co.uk, Lynne Hatwell from the first of two articles:

‘A fabulous concoction of emotions and observations, lots of nature versus nurture ponderings and a razor-sharp narrative voice to die for, which all adds up to my first truly un-put-downable new novel of the year to date.’

The Booktrust Review

‘This impressive debut is a parable that deconstructs the ‘perfect-family’ model with eerie tension. The spirit of Gillespie’s novel lies in penetrating suburban conformities. Through a mixture of pathos, humour and sparse prose, he deconstructs the model family with care, wrestling with weighty topics like nature over nurture.’

Evie Wyld, author of After the Fire, A Still Small Voice and All The Birds Singing:

‘A dark and elegant story of childhood, The Cuckoo Boy is horrifying and disarmingly funny. A book to keep you awake at night.’

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