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The Nudist Colony
by Sarah May
Aesop is 14. He is not innocent - nor is he exactly experienced. His knowledge of crime is limited to drug-taking and car-theft; his knowledge of sex is what he observes his friends doing. But when Ludwig James knocks him over, Aesop enters a world where the law is broken on a far grander scale.
Aesop is fourteen. He is not innocent - nor is he exactly experienced. His knowledge of crime is limited to drug-taking and car-theft on the Hackney estate where he lives; his knowledge of sex to what he observes his friends doing. But when Ludwig James knocks him over in his chauffeur-driven car one evening in King's Cross, Aesop enters a world where the law is broken on a far grander scale and the illegal has become so much a part of the social fabric that it is almost indistinguishable from it. Sarah May's startlingly accomplished first novel evokes an ailing England, riddled with corruption, whose inhabitants live among the remnants of its great colonial past. An abandoned lino factory, a decrepit Victorian butterfly house, the ruins of a megalomaniac labour colony in the Brazilian rainforest- intense, cinematic images preside over a grippingly sinister narrative and a cast of lovingly observed characters, each a criminal in their own way, each reaching towards redemption. A HEART OF DARKNESS for the late twentieth century, this is a remarkable and unforgettable debut.
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