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Edition details

ISBN
9781910709580

eBook ISBN
9781910709597

Publication date
1st August 2019

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This Mortal Boy

Author

£8.99

A novel based on real events and real people and the events that led to one of the last executions in New Zealand.

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Description

WINNER OF THE OCKHAM NEW ZEALAND BOOK AWARDS 2019

WINNER OF THE NGAIO MARSH AWARDS 2019

WINNER OF THE NZ BOOKLOVERS PRIZE FOR FICTION 2019

WINNER OF THE NZ HERITAGE BOOK AWARDS 2018

LONGLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN LITERARY AWARDS 2020

‘The offender is not one of ours. It is unfortunate that we got this undesirable from his homeland.’

Auckland, October 1955. If young Paddy Black sings to himself he can almost see himself back home in Belfast. Yet, less than two years after sailing across the globe in search of a better life, here he stands in a prison cell awaiting trial for murder. He pulled a knife at the jukebox that night, but should his actions lead him to the gallows? As his desperate mother waits on, Paddy must face a judge and jury unlikely to favour an outsider, as a wave of moral panic sweeps the island nation.

Fiona Kidman’s powerful novel explores the controversial topic of the death penalty with characteristic empathy and a probing eye for injustice.

Reviews
‘Kidman’s prose is precise, detailed, lyric . . . The fluencies and hard-won command of a good writer bring out their own truth’ Irish Times
‘Magnetic . . . The ending of a life involves decisions made by many, Kidman reminds us, with opportunities for compassion that are regularly missed until it’s too late’ New York Times
‘Kidman . . . deftly sketches the personalities behind the headline story, along with the ambiguities and mitigating circumstances surrounding them . . . In the emotional catharsis experienced by the imprisoned Paddy Black, she demonstrates how redemption may be grasped even at the final hour of the darkest day’ Wall Street Journal
‘It’s an amazing novel, this. It’s compelling’ Val McDermid
‘Perfectly captures the life of a young immigrant while taking a sharp look at New Zealand’s social history. At once moving, compelling and ultimately tragic, it is also a fascinating beautifully written story’ Liz Nugent
‘Stays with you long after you’ve read it . . . It brings home what the death penalty really means for someone who wasn’t bad, just young and misguided’ Sunday Times-bestselling author Lesley Pearse
‘Powerfully explores the ways that young men and women . . . were demonised by politicians . . . a really moving book’ @SamiraAhmed
‘Utterly gripping and tense . . . This is an excoriating repudiation of the death penalty not because it is emotional but because it is cool, analytical, evidence based and well reasoned’ NB
‘A simple riveting and compulsive page-turner of a read from beginning to end’ Midwest Book Review
‘What’s remarkable . . . is how Kidman brings forth issues like specimens under a strong light, showing them in all their complexity, with all their shadows and brilliance, without ever preaching or becoming polemical’ Crime Fiction Lover
‘Richly textured with an elegant structure and flow; a harrowing tale full of humanity’ Ngaio Marsh Awards
‘An intensely human and empathetic story’ The Ockham Book Awards
‘Like Hilary Mantel, she writes with acute observation and attention to detail, getting inside the skin of her characters’ New Zealand Books
‘A tale about violent acts that is infused with humanity and compassion’ New Zealand Listener
‘Kidman . . . has performed in The Mortal Boy a terrific feat of imagination . . .  This Mortal Boy is to be praised for its sustained storytelling and moral vision’ Mark Broatch, Landfall
‘Her portrayal of Black as a youth who makes an awful mistake is a heartbreaking one . . . This very human novel is as good an argument as you’ll ever find for the abolition of capital punishment’ The Spinoff (NZ)
‘This is an important book which reminds us of the fragility of youth and how devastatingly lives can be altered by a moment’s action’ Australian Women’s Weekly
‘Where does justice lie? This is an exquisitely written novel from a master storyteller; an important and fascinating read’ Crime Watch NZ
‘An excellent book. Fiona Kidman certainly knows how to weave a story, keeping the action moving and gripping the reader’ Marcus Hobson, NZ BookLovers
Bonus Material
Listen to Fiona Kidman talk to the BBC about This Mortal Boy
What Did They Mean, A ‘Moral Panic’? An Introduction to This Mortal Boy
The Spinoff review of This Mortal Boy

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