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The Dead School by Patrick McCabe
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The Dead School (1995)

by Patrick McCabe

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One of the best novels written in the past twenty years is The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe, arguably the finest contemporary Irish novelist this side of Roddy Doyle. In The Dead School, McCabe uses the time honored style of good old fashion storytelling to remind readers of the tough lot in life it was living in Ireland in the last century. More specifically, the author takes on generation gaps as personified by different approaches in classroom management by a new teacher and his firm, unyielding Catholic headmaster who hired him. Their individual actions toward one other and cumulative assumptions about each other bring ruin to both in this tragic tale that reinforces the sadness and despair that one tends to associate with the Irish of this era. ( )
  lukespapa | Jan 16, 2014 |
A quick read, and fairly original with pretty good writing. It's not something you'll teach in class, but it is something that you can relax with and become easily engaged in. Worth reading for pleasure. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Jun 7, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0330339451, Paperback)

"All it takes is one thing to go wrong and then--well everything else decides to follow suit I'm afraid. Mr Sun, who a minute before was saying, 'Hello! I'm Mr Sun! I'm your friend on this happy picnic day!' is opening up a big sunny mouth full of razor teeth." Macabre humor, grisly horrors, likeable characters, madness and pathos, shrewd allusions to pop songs and movies, and a supple prose style that sounds like Irish speech when read aloud--Patrick McCabe does it all. The Dead School is a dazzling novel, more complex and even more gripping than McCabe's The Butcher Boy. Here are the stories of two very different Irishmen, from different generations, whose lives intersect for a brief and mutually destructive time, and then continue, in misery, apart. McCabe deftly avoids the easy or dramatic ending and delivers instead the saddest, funniest, most horrible ending of all because it is so true to life.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:02 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The clash of two men representing the two faces of Ireland, revolutionary and bourgeois. Both teach at the same boys' school. One is a tyrannical headmaster, the son of an IRA man killed by the Black and Tans, the second is a with-it reformer whose father did not fight, but committed suicide. The novel chronicles the boys' different reactions to the two men. By the author of The Butcher Boy.… (more)

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