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Boy A

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Boy A

Jonathan Trigell’s haunting debut (loosely based on a real 1990s case) follows a nine-year-old who commits a gruesome murder and gets dubbed by politicians and news-papers ”The Evilest Boy in Britain.” Fifteen years later, Boy A — a.k.a. Jack Burridge, an alias chosen to hide his identity from the still-outraged public — wins release from prison and re-immerses himself in a world that’s unforgiving but strangely tantalizing in Boy A. He discovers the opposite sex (”a new species: of legs, of lips, of breasts, of hips, of eyes, of thighs”), while still tormented by violent urges and the fear that his past will be discovered. Though Trigell masterfully builds sympathy for Jack, the story’s overly ambiguous ending leaves a bittersweet ache for more.