Magnificent Joe

James Wheatley

Magnificent Joe

Recently released from prison, Jim is welcomed back by his childhood mates to the northern working-class town where he grew up. With no alternative, Jim falls in step with their lives: working down the building site, pub, sleep. No time to regret the future that could have been had he not taken that punch and killed that boy. The only glimmer of warmth amid the tough grind is his friendship with Joe, a man with severe learning difficulties who is regarded with suspicion by the rest of the community. But when Joe is falsely accused of a crime, Jim must break the claustrophobic confines of his life and take drastic action in order to protect him. With his spare and powerful prose, James Wheatley has crafted a brilliantly compelling, often dark, and frequently funny novel about how an extraordinary friendship can offer redemption and help rebuild a life. 3.8 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
Magnificent Joe

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Paperback
Pages 288
RRP
Date of Publication March 2013
ISBN 978-1851689668
Publisher Oneworld Publications
 

Recently released from prison, Jim is welcomed back by his childhood mates to the northern working-class town where he grew up. With no alternative, Jim falls in step with their lives: working down the building site, pub, sleep. No time to regret the future that could have been had he not taken that punch and killed that boy. The only glimmer of warmth amid the tough grind is his friendship with Joe, a man with severe learning difficulties who is regarded with suspicion by the rest of the community. But when Joe is falsely accused of a crime, Jim must break the claustrophobic confines of his life and take drastic action in order to protect him. With his spare and powerful prose, James Wheatley has crafted a brilliantly compelling, often dark, and frequently funny novel about how an extraordinary friendship can offer redemption and help rebuild a life.

Reviews

The Guardian

Jane Housham

A dark, angry novel, tightly wound.

26/04/2013

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The Daily Mail

Christina Appleyard

There isn’t a sentimental line in this grim, violent but subtle tale.

18/04/2013

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The Financial Times

Suzi Feay

There are some flaws. A prologue that gives away the ending seems unnecessary, and the narrative switches perspective unevenly between Jim and Geoff. An implausible device leads to a sudden change in Geoff’s fortunes, and the plot lurches into melodrama at times. However, as a study of male friendship turned sour, this novel chills and convinces.

26/04/2013

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The Independent

Katy Guest

James Wheatley has worked as a labourer in a northern town (as well as a financial and business risk analyst), and he doesn't sentimentalise hard work, hard drinking and violence. A group of local children who antagonise Jim are "good kids, really. No, they're twats. Abortion should be compulsory." … a brutal little novel that manages also to be tender and funny. It might not really be the Of Mice and Men of our generation. But this ballsy debut shows great promise.

23/03/2013

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