Henry Tumour

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Anthony McGowan
Doubleday
0385608616
Apr 2006
�I mean, a talking brain tumour? Pah!�

Based in and around The Body of the Christ high school, a setting familiar to readers of Anthony McGowan�s first anarchic adventure for adolescents, �Hell Bent�, this second novel, �Henry Tumour� sustains the distinctive and perhaps to many adults repugnant narrative voice which has proved itself so resonant with teenage boys.

The novel opens with the singular and perplexing comment, �Arsecheese�. If this serves to bewilder readers, puzzlement is matched by that of the book�s protagonist, Hector Brunty.

Hector is, in many ways a typical teenager; self-conscious, part-tortured at school by bullies and holding a burgeoning interest in girls � most especially for Uma Upshaw� Ostensibly the novel is about Hector coming to terms with, and learning to cope with his alter-ego, Henry, a talking brain-tumour. Values lie more definitely, however, in the development of Henry�s character, his increasingly assured self-belief and his desires and wants which at points � when not tempered � make for a genuinely disturbing and challenging read.

An irreverent and some might say a highly suspect idea from the stand-point of political correctness, the novel is actually highly thought provoking and genuinely very funny. Anthony McGowan is bringing similar freshness of voice and barrels-of-belly-laughs to boys� novels that Louis Rennison did for girls� Unlike Rennison, however, more �serious� issues are interwoven here, not following moralising or overtly pedagogic means, but constantly pinioning these through the thoughts, feelings and often confusions of Hector.

The sensitive exposition of Hector�s character belies the profanities of this novel�s telling and readers are left wondering as to the exact nature of the tumour. Whether malignant or benign, can a part of ourselves that influences our actions and reactions be marginalised from us? Read �Henry Tumour� and decide for yourself�


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This page contains a single entry by Jacob published on May 3, 2006 1:28 PM.

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