3.84 (494 ratings by Goodreads)
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In the tradition of THE CEMENT GARDEN and THE WASP FACTORY, this is a compelling and shocking journey into the dark heart of boyhood, as four boys play war games deep in the English countryside. With the death of one of the Gang (as they call themselves), the war games escalate, directed now against the adults they hold responsible for the loss of one of their soldiers. Like Toby Litt's previous novel CORPSING, DEADKIDSONGS is unputdownable, highly original and deeply more

Product details

  • Paperback | 464 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 34mm | 340.2g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • map
  • 0140285784
  • 9780140285789
  • 1,952,160

Review quote

'Toby Litt has taken us back into the secret and brutal lair of childhood... wickedly, wittily scary' Observershow more

Review Text

Andrew's gang isn't just any old gang. Andrew's gang is Gang, four boys dedicated to readying themselves for war against the Russians. Gang is the best gang ever; they know this because Andrew's father told them and Andrew's father is the Best Father. It is he who taught Andrew about violence, about how to take pain and kill animals, skills which ensure that Andrew's leadership goes unchallenged. That is, until one member of Gang dies in suspicious circumstances, and plans to avenge his death spiral out of control. A plot such as this could be written as a trite adventure story, but Litt's writing possesses such perception that it is tempting to rank it alongside Golding's tale of schoolboy savagery Lord of the Flies. Nothing is said or done without sufficient motivation. As we learn more of the relationship between Andrew and his father - a relationship based on the philosophy of kindness through cruelty, of preparing one's son for adulthood by giving him 'a damn good hiding' - tragedy seems inevitable. Narration begins in the collective first person, a technique rarely seen outside of Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides, fragmenting into singular first person as morale breaks down and Gang falls apart. Desensitized to violence, Second Lieutenant Matthew is able to describe how 'leaves cracked really loud under the Mini's wheels, like when a cat's spine snapped.' In the war between the old and the young, the first victim is innocence. Review by DAREN KING (Kirkus UK)show more

Author information

Born in 1968, Toby Litt is the author of ADVENTURES IN CAPITALISM, BEATNIKS and more

Rating details

494 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 27% (134)
4 40% (197)
3 24% (121)
2 7% (36)
1 1% (6)
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