The Cuckoo Boy by Grant Gillespie

The Cuckoo Boy

Grant Gillespie

This is a dark tale of family life in the raw, seen mainly through the eyes of James and the parents who care for him. Complex and dysfunctional relationships unravel and the imaginary and the real collide and merge to create a suspenseful story that has sharp edges. With a hint of humour, the emotional expectations of adults and children are revealed. The conflicts that shape human nature and the need to be loved emerge centre stage.

Extract

Sandra could hear his fingers tapping on the radio casing. Irritated she rolled over, put down her book and flicked off the lamp switch like she’d seen people do in films. But her life was no Doris Day movie and when the light went out it was not replaced by a mellow- moon luminosity but rather by a cold, steely blackness and a noise quieter than silence for them both to flounder in. They hid from the knowledge that this child, their son – on whom they’d blindly pinned their hopes, like the tail on the donkey – this real little boy, with his mirror-image imaginary one, was opening up a gulf that a whole team of specialists would struggle to bridge.

Parallels
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • The English American by Alison Larkin

Books with similar mood

Six Stories

Matt Wesolowski

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden

Helen Grant

Arkady

Patrick Langley

Blacklands

Belinda Bauer

Faithful Place

Tana French

The Return

Hakan Nesser

Waiting for an Angel

Helon Habila

The Solitude of Prime Numbers

Paolo Giordano

Smaller and Smaller Circles

E H Batagan

An Unfinished Business

Boualem Sansal

Lost City Radio

Daniel Alarcon

The Poet Game

Salar Abdoh

A Dreamer's Paradise

David Karanja

Twelve Twenty Three

Eoin McNamee

The Innocent

David Szalay

Pachinko

Min Jin Lee

Akram's War

Nadim Safdar

Deloume Road

Matthew Hooton

Black Water Rising

Attica Locke

Winter's Bone

Daniel Woodrell

Sweetsmoke

David Fuller

The Snake Stone

Jason Goodwin

The Queen of Subtleties

Suzannah Dunn

The Bonny Lad

Jonathan Tulloch

The Organ Grinders

Bill Fitzhugh

The Accident on the A35

Graeme Macrae Burnet

Chasing the King of Hearts

Hanna Krall

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul

Deborah Rodriguez

Bridge of the Single Hair

Candida Lall Pugh

The Trojan Project

Eileen Thornton

How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone

Sasa Stanisic

This is the Country

William Wall

Boy A

Jonathan Trigell

Under an English Heaven

Robert Radcliffe

A Mouthful of Glass

Henk van Woerden

The Last King of Scotland

Giles Foden

Just Another Jihadi Jane

Tabish Khair

Iron Towns

Anthony Cartwright

Taduno's Song

Odafe Atogun

The Mountain Story

Lori Lansens

Wake

Anna Hope

Beneath the Lion's Gaze

Maaza Mengiste

The Language of Flowers

Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Waterline

Ross Raisin

The Cry of the Go-Away Bird

Andrea Eames

Where They Were Missed

Lucy Caldwell

Heaven Forbid

Christopher Hope

The Lamplighter

Anthony O'Neill

Girl at War

Sara Nović