Length: 320 Pages
A young woman has been murdered, and a neighbour, a retired teacher from Chapleton College, is arrested. An eccentric loner – intellectual, shy, a fastidious dresser with expensive tastes – he is the perfect candidate for a media monstering.
In custody he is interviewed by two detectives: the smart-talking, quick-witted Gary, and his watchful colleague, Ander. Ander is always watchful, but particularly now, because the man across the table is his former teacher – Michael Wolphram – whom he hasn’t seen in nearly 30 years.
As the novel proceeds, we watch Wolphram’s media lynching as ex-pupils and colleagues line up to lie about him. In parallel, we read Ander’s memories of his life as a young Dutch boy in 80s England. Another outsider, another loner in a school system rife with abuse and bullying, Ander has another case to solve: the cold case of his own childhood.
Though it deals with historical abuse and violence in schools, and the corrupt power of the popular media, Throw Me to the Wolves is mostly about childhood and memory. A perceptive and pertinent novel of our times, beautifully written and psychologically acute, it manages to be both very funny and – at the same time – shatteringly sad.
Length: 320 Pages
"Throw Me to the Wolves is, on the face of it, a made-for-TV procedural police drama… Scratch the surface, however, and all of Britain’s restless undercurrents are churning away… this is literary fiction as it should be: in stylish, surprising, lyrical sentences we are forced to confront the hidden power structures, public and private, that control our everyday lives. It’s reminiscent of Edward St Aubyn, not only in its pillorying of the elite, but the pleasure McGuinness takes in having his characters say clever things. It’s also a proper page-turner."
"This is a writer worth knowing… [McGuinness] combines elegant prose with caustic commentary on romance, education and crime… most people can write for a lifetime and not produce so perfect a sentence."
"Blisteringly effective, written with an almost hallucinogenic clarity… Throw Me to the Wolves is intensely powerful."
"An extraordinary writer of great compassion, McGuinness combines a mesmerising crime novel with a forensic look at the brutalising mechanisms of the British Public School system. Stunning."
"An absorbing novel… on virtually every page, there are perfectly judged descriptions that reveal something about the world."