Public school

The scars of public school: English Monsters, by James Scudamore, reviewed

‘James Scudamore is now a force in the English novel,’ says Hilary Mantel on the cover of English Monsters, which, given that it’s his fourth book, has the whiff of a backhanded compliment (‘Have you lost weight?’). But despite its less exotic setting than his earlier novels, there is a reach and scope here that makes me think Mantel might be right. This is an English public school story (come back!) that gives us four decades in the life of Max Denyer. Max’s jet-setting parents leave him in the care of the sort of sparky grandfather of whom Roald Dahl would approve (gadgets, projects, home-made cider vinegar: ‘Electric jolt. Scalp