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How I Killed Margaret Thatcher [Paperback]

Anthony Cartwright
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

22 April 2013
'Judas Iscariot's here, look. Here comes Judas Iscariot . . .'Nine-year old Sean has never seen anything like what happens on the day Margaret Thatcher takes power and his grandad discovers his uncle voted for her. So begins the start of a family secret and the end of Sean's idyllic childhood in the industrial Midlands - until, one day, deciding that someone's got to stop the train of destruction, he sets out for revenge.A heartbreaking and timely story of a moment of national crisis as felt by one family, How I Killed Margaret Thatcher delivers a devastating English twist on the dictator novel.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tindal Street (22 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781251576
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781251577
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 85,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'an elegiac portrayal of Dudley in the 1980s' (Guardian) 'Cartwright uses the 1980s veil to offer a stinging insight into modern-day politics: often with great humour' (We Love This Book) 'Praise for Heartland: 'This is what fiction should be' (David Peace) 'A writer with a wonderful ear for dialect and an unblinking sense of Britain as it is today' --(Jonathan Coe)

'A surprisingly complex, nuanced narrative' FT

'An angry, unforgiving novel. But that s its power' --Independent on Sunday

Book Description

Why Sean Bull sets out one day to assassinate Margaret Thatcher ... A provocative novel now Gordon Burn Prize 2013 shortlist

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving and thought provoking small town drama 24 Sep 2012
The provocative title certainly caught my eye. But I didn't believe I was clutching some kind of manifesto, unlike at least one newspaper columnist who spotted an easy opportunity to whip up some moral outrage and duly did. Last time I checked, fiction was allowed, even encouraged, to explore situations far beyond that which normal society would tolerate. And in this case the title, if unsettling, sets up a thought-provoking exploration of the decline and ultimate disappearance of a certain British way of life and a moment of profound economic and social change in these islands.
How I Killed Margaret Thatcher is in fact a moving and elegiac portrait of an industrial region, Dudley in the West Mids, in its death throes. We sometimes forget that long ago, before the rise of globalisation and the ubiquity of cheap consumer goods from China, Britain actually made things. We even exported quite a lot of them. Made in England was something to be proud of.
HIKMT catches the tale-end of that post-war manufacturing era and the social consequences of its decline through the prism of what we now call, sometimes derisively, Thatcherism. Narrator Sean Bull is a bright boy, perhaps too bright, trying to understand his changing world through the local library and the hopes, fears and prejudices of his parents and grandparents. As the old ways crumble around him, Sean looks for someone to explain the dislocation and misery of rising unemployment, poverty and violence - and for someone to blame.
It is Lady Thatcher - easily Britain's most iconic leader after Winston Churchill, and a totemic and deeply divisive presence throughout the novel - who attracts the nine-year-old's ire, hence the author's self-confessed provocative title. This is no rant however.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The true impact of Thatcherism 18 Dec 2012
By Joanne Sheppard TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sean Bull, nine years old at the start of Anthony Cartwright's Black Country-set novel How I Killed Margaret Thatcher, spends his childhood haunted, figuratively at least, by Thatcher. The novel begins with his beloved grandfather punching his Uncle Eric for voting for her; fortunately he doesn't know Sean's dad secretly cast his ballot for the Tories too. At first, Thatcher appears to Sean almost as a pantomime villain, her hard eyes and mean voice rarely off the television, but gradually, Thatcherism begins to have a real and tragic impact on Sean's family life. His male role models rendered jobless and emasculated by the closure of the local steelworks, his mother driven to drink as the mortgage goes unpaid, Sean sees Thatcher as an increasingly malevolent force. And after a horribly traumatic experience in his early teens, and knowing that there is a old wartime gun hidden in his grandfather's shed, he realises that he might just have just have the means to stop her.

The novel is narrated entirely by Sean, but Cartwright has him tell the story from both his childhood and adult perspectives, giving us the benefit of that strange mix of uncertain confusion and sharp clarity that tends to come with childhood as well as an adult's hindsight. It's hard not to like the younger Sean. He's a bright boy, interested in everything that goes on around him, full of questions and fond of the library, yet at the same time, satisfied with relatively modest comforts: when asked to draw his fantasy ideal home for school, he simply draws his grandparents' council house in Dudley and adds a football pitch. Far from being praised for what struck me as an endearing and admirable lack of greed, he's marked down for having low aspirations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catalogue of Destruction 29 Dec 2012
Through the eyes of Sean, a young boy from the Midlands, we track the total destruction of a family and community that is centred around the industry from which it grew. The innocence of such a young narrator brings extra sharpness to the cruelty of Thatcher's policies; and through the well chosen quotations that intersperse the narrative, the ex-premier's vision for a new Britain grows evermore grotesque. The writing is tight, unsentimental, and in no way does Cartwright preach to his readers. A brilliant novel - of particular interest to the generation spawned by Thatcher's Britain.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Ordinary' lives treated with respect 13 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is Anthony Cartwright's third novel, like the previous ones, set in Dudley and about the impact on working-class life there of the political changes over the last thirty years. For me it didn't quite have the impact and resonance of 'Heartland', but this author is always worth reading. There are so few contemporary novels in which the lives of 'ordinary' people are treated with such respect and dignity. Cartwright's characters are believable, the dialogue is convincing and realistic, and this novel builds to a real climax.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. 31 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this book down and I have now passed it to my children to read. It deals with the reality of bad politics that they just don't teach in school. Who voted Thatcher to power? Still now like in the book no one is admitting to it.
This book made me laugh and cry. I would recommend it to all ages and creeds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read. 12 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great read, funny and sad in equal measures. An insight into how the working class were affected at this time through the eyes of a child.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, tragic & engaging
I could relate to so much of this book, growing up in the period in which it was set. A fascinating, tragic read
Published 7 days ago by Paul Wallis
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous intelligent read
A fabulous read especially for those of a certain age who lived through those divided times. A very fine read, couldn't put it down!
Published 4 months ago by paul jarrold
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia
Brings back a lot of childhood memories of living in Thatcher's time. Enjoyable to read, often amusing and good hearted.
Published 5 months ago by Ms. Mary Fletcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgiving - and that's why it's good
I didn't really now what to expect from this book. I hadn't heard of it before, hadn't seen it reviewed or advertised anywhere, I didn't even know the author. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Man Out Of Time
3.0 out of 5 stars Book
Amusing story with lots of topical events from the Thatcher era. Reminded me of my childhood growing up in the 80s
Published 12 months ago by Vicki
5.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately he didnt
I really thought he was going to! Brilliantly written, hilarious and incredibly sad. You wont regret reading this, even if you don't like Brummies!
Published 18 months ago by Crowded Scouse
4.0 out of 5 stars Thatcher through the eyes of a child.....
This novel is the Thatcher years filtered through the eyes and imagination of a small boy in Dudley as he tries to make sense of a changing world. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Wynne Kelly
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