Matt Thorne

Puberty and Lies

Carry Me Down

By

Canongate 340pp £9.99 order from our bookshop

Adolescent male protagonists have proved popular with Man Booker judges in recent years. Following Life of Pi and Vernon God Little, this year’s longlist brings us David Mitchell’s Jason Taylor (narrator of Black Swan Green) and M J Hyland’s shortlisted Carry Me Down, which is narrated by an eleven-year-old named John Egan. Egan is the latest in a long line of precocious children, having a body too big for his age and a prose style too poetic to truly convince that this is the voice of a boy whose first reaction when confronted by a carpet is to take off his trousers and underwear and rub his bottom against it. This isn’t too serious a weakness, as the writing is so fine that Hyland makes it easy to accept the conceit.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'It is one of those nice linguistic ironies that English should have attempted to make sex respectable by clothing… ,
    • 'He was to my mind the father of the idea that journalism – yes, even journalism – can have a moral dimension to it… ,
    • RT : Feeling old, as exhumes a piece I wrote 37 years ago. But a joy to see Kathy O’S there too. Here’s why:… ,
    • 'Enough of his character remains just out of reach for Barnes to relish the challenge of imagining him.' Patrick M… ,
    • RT : I did a thing about the new Penguin Book Of Oulipo for this month’s Literary Review: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Moore’s work has been so influential that the former ministers who provided him with much of his information now r… ,
    • 'Although he travels through time and space to find the best produce, his choices, delightfully, are not obvious.'… ,