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Deadkidsongs Paperback – February 22, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd (February 22, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241140706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241140703
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,104,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Litt's third novel sees him moving away from the studied cool of his previous work. The English countryside in the 1970s substitutes for the glamorous, quirky or violent aspects of modern Britain depicted in Corpsing and Beatniks. The four schoolboys at the centre of the book call themselves "Gang" and spend their time preparing for what they see as the imminent invasion by the Russians as well as arming themselves against the hostile adult world around them. This feeling intensifies after the death of one of the boys, a tragedy which the Gang blames on their families and causes them to seek revenge. Devoid of sentimentality or cuteness, Deadkidsongs conveys the real and imagined fears of childhood in an occasionally affected but ultimately convincing prose style.

About the Author

Born in 1968, Toby Litt is the author of ADVENTURES IN CAPITALISM, BEATNIKS and CORPSING. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Matko Vladanovic on June 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Toby Litt is considered to be, by many critics, the best english author of the new english (young) prose. And this book represents him in the best light that it can. This is the story about four boys the live and grow in the small town in England called Amplewick. It's the story of their growth, both physical, and pshychological, it's the story of the obsession with war, obsessions with fight, and most of all it is the story of broken ideals, of friendship raised in an unnatural circumstances, and last but but not the least, it is the story of lack of communication, and of effects that it can have on unprepared minds (and who could ever be prepared for such thing).
Written in two sepparate forms, of retospective monologue, and storyteling with spotlight on one of the main characters (spotlight changes as novel progresses), with excellent language skills, and nostalgic sidenote, mixed with fury which cannot be witheld inside himself (author has integrated himself in his character), this is indeed example of good literature.
Though maybe not so hard to understand as some of the recent alegoric novels, this book keeps his reader constantly on the seat, not with the story but more with the growing feeling of discomfort, and perverse anticipation of "what will happen next and why at all would I want to know that?"
Masterpiece of it's own, everyone should try to read it and to understand it. It is not just plain writting without anything behind the words which became very popular in modern literature. But deffinitely it is not a book for summer vacation, or a light break from work. It is a book that needs to be enjoyed upon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cartimand on December 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
The reader is warned in the preamble that two of the chief protagonists will be dead by the conclusion, but this in no way spoils the tension in Litt's minor masterpiece. Litt cleverly taps into the egotistical psyche of the bully as well as the subservient and machiavellian interests that comprise the timebomb that is "Gang". The draconian rules invented by the members of Gang reflect a strict hierachy and exaggerated sense of honour and discipline, influenced by the military. In a fantasy world, where each Gang member yearns to die a hero in defence of mother England, grown-ups are perceived as the enemy. The one exception being Andrew's dad - the "best father", whose appalling abusive behaviour is glorified by the boys. Ringing faint echoes of "Lord of the Flies", the unsettling sense of impending doom in Deadkidsongs builds in a most compelling manner until the bloody conclusion. Whilst more than half expected, the pay-off is in no way diminished and is suitably satisfying and shocking. A few moments of gawky adolescent humour thankfully intersperse the mostly grim and cruel prose. The frequent switching of narrator generally worked well although, on occasion, produced a slightly frustrating lack of momentum.
A very powerful and memorable book, which I recommend to everyone, except those easily upset by deliberate cruelty.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Linda Sackstein on November 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
Toby Litt's use of the English language is nothing short of perfect. However, a book about 4 young boys growing up together and which tells you in the foreward that 2 of them will be dead by the end of the story, is overpowering stuff to say the least.
I found it absolutely fascinating reading although very cruel in parts. His portrayal of the"best father" who is in reality a wife-beating, son-beating bully and coward, is very good indeed. The boys hold him in awe for his war skills and do not see the horrible man inside. Litt manages to round out his characters and, in particular, we see the growth of the four different main characters coming to life. I am looking forward to reading more of Litt's books.
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