Pub. Date:
Oneworld Classics


by James Hanley


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Acclaimed by luminaries such as William Faulkner and suppressed for more than 50 years by a prosecution for obscenity, James Hanley's 1930s classic charts the short and brutish life of a boy forced out of school and into the unforgiving world of work. Escape—in the form of stowing away on a ship—only deepens his exposure to the squalor and brutality that men are capable of, and when he arrives in Alexandria he learns there are some things that one can't run away from. Narrated in unflinching language that is both visceral and acute in its observational power, Boy is a shocking book that stays in the mind long after it is read. Unfairly neglected during his lifetime, only recently has this original, uncompromising novelist started to be reappraised as among the finest novelists writing in English in the 20th century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781847490063
Publisher: Oneworld Classics
Publication date: 09/25/2007
Series: Oneworld Classics Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

James Hanley was born in Liverpool to Irish immigrants and left school at an early age to become a sailor. His experiences at sea informed many of his works, including Boy, a novel so controversial that it was only published in a limited, expurgated edition, and subsequently tried for obscenity. Unfairly neglected during his lifetime, only recently has this original, uncompromising novelist started to be reappraised as one of the finest English writers of the 20th century.

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Boy 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
icolford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Crudely written (Hanley claimed he wrote it in ten days) but absorbing tale of a naive and physically frail boy, Arthur Fearon, who, tiring of his father's brutality, flees his home in Liverpool for a life at sea, stowing away on the ship The Hernian. On ship he is mistreated in every imaginable way by the crew, and yet survives and takes on the job of lookout when the sailor in that position unexpectedly dies. Arthur wants to learn and adapt to his new surroundings, but his tenure as a sailor is cut short when he contracts an illness. Arthur's tragedy is all the more poignant because he is so obviously not suited for any of the options that life presents to him. This book was the subject of obscenity charges upon its publication in England.