A little malnutrition hardens them up

Earlier I wrote about a book I wish I’d read when I was 16. Here’s one I wish I’d read when I was 10: The Adventures of Endill Swift, by Stuart McDonald. This is surreal children’s literature in the tradition of Roald Dahl and Lewis Carroll. Endill Swift is trapped at Epitaph School, a gruesome place with sadistic teachers, labyrinthine corridors you can lose yourself in for years, a dining room where rows of animal heads grin down at frightened students, and dormitories named after weeds and insects. The library is so huge it has its own abominable bookman, living somewhere far above the floor. Endill wants to escape before the school drives him mad, like it once did his father and grandfather, and clearly also has done to the teachers, who even when they retire don’t leave the school island, but go off to wander the uncharted corridors, sad and confused.

It’s all done in the clear, intelligent and witty style of the best children’s books. There’s also plenty of satire aimed at adult readers, and it’s really up to you if you want to read Endill Swift as a book for children, or a book for adults about childhood. It’s brilliant either way, (and if it all sounds too dark for children to read then you’ve forgotten what it was like.) It’s also out of print and virtually forgotten, something that happens to a frightening number of potential classics.

2 Responses to A little malnutrition hardens them up

  1. karina says:

    Oi, du fikk lest den, jo. Så fint!

    Mvh fraværende-anbefalerske

  2. Bjørn Stærk says:

    Jepp. Takk for anbefalingen!

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