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madbkwm

madbkwm

A Thousand Cuts: A Novel - Simon Lelic I wasn't impressed. Lelic makes an interesting point; he takes a clear open and shut kind of case (teacher goes psycho and shoots up a school) and gives the reader the systemic faults behind the scenes.

However, I felt like he was just overdoing it. Certainly the reader can empathize with Samuel and understand his point of view by the end of the novel. And yes, the bad guy here does appear to be Travis (the headmaster) and TJ (the gym teacher), but the parallels with Lucia's life were just too many. Did she really have to face sexual harassment in the workplace and an unsympathetic boss as well? Do we have to see that there are bullies everywhere and the good guys don't have any way to fight back? I don't think so, I think Lelic could have been much less heavy handed and the reader would have still gotten the point.

I was also struck throughout wondering about school shootings in England. I kind of thought this was an American phenomenon (not really something to be proud of there), although I think there was recently some school violence in China. I need to look that up, but in general I agreed with the African immigrant: English people don't use guns...do they? I found myself remembering being at the Notting Hill Carnival years ago and remarking on the peaceful nature of the HUMONGOUS crowd and the rather quaint (and very modest) police presence of a few uniformed patrolmen on horseback with their billy clubs.

Overall it was a quick read and fairly entertaining, but it felt like Lelic was belaboring his point. There was no real poetry in the book.