"In a terrifying dream, little Mick's mother sells his sister to a rag and bone man; in his waking life the baby, dead and gone, is never mentioned. 'The Hard Man of the Swings' is full of such observations of the bombed-out life in working-class England just after the war, and marks Jeanne Willis as being a lot more than just the funny-ha-ha author of Dr Xargle.
For Mick, adult behaviour in this demob world is composed of secrecy and sudden, unexplained violence. Eventually left in the abusive 'care' of his natural father, something inside Mick finally snaps in a horrifying and perfect ending."

The Times: October 2000

 

Winner of the 2001 Nort East Book Awards.

 

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