Wilberforce - H. S. Cross

The year is 1926, and the students at St. Stephen’s Academy, a boys’ boarding school in the north of England, are subject to the many cruelties of the English Public School system of the time: caning, the “fag” system, whereby younger boys serve older ones and suffer their abuse, and rugby. But before you think victimization à la David Copperfield, meet seventeen-year-old Morgan Wilberforce, the protagonist of H.S. Cross’s excellent debut novel, Wilberforce (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27). Though he mourns the recent death of his mother, suffers abuse from his “fagmaster,” has unrequited yearnings for a boy a year ahead of him, and earns the dislike and suspicion of the headmaster and many of his teachers, Morgan gives as good as he gets. When we meet him, he has injured his shoulder by hurling himself at Spaulding, the object of his affections, during a rugby match, and the drama builds from there. The school is in turmoil following a rebellion of the younger boys, and even the Masters struggle to keep their own emotions at bay while trying to maintain control of the school. In Wilberforce, H.S. Cross has created a world in which the raw pain and pleasure of adolescence combine to heightened, highly charged, and sometimes hilarious effect.

Wilberforce: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374290108
Availability: Out of Print in This Format
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 15th, 2015

Wilberforce: A Novel Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781250097132
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - January 3rd, 2017

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