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Micka Paperback – 2 Jul 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (2 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330513826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330513821
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 603,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My new book is out! DOLLYWAGGLERS took over ten years to write, and now I'm working on a sequel. If you like dystopia born out of darkness and chaos, with a political twist, then try my book.
What are dollywagglers? A dismissive name that some puppeteers call others. Once upon a time I was the voice and puppet of 'Cosmo' in BBC TV's 'You and Me' programme. My own children were young enough then to give me expert advice on what to put in the scripts.
In this book, I was inspired by the seascapes, fields and woods of Suffolk, where I lived for many years; NUTMEG PUPPET COMPANY appeared regularly on Southwold Beach, and I was lucky enough to play a pirate, a female knight and Queen Boudicca in our puppet and actor beach shows.
MICKA was the runner-up for the Society of Authors' McKitterick Prize in 2011, and featured on BBC Radio 4: A GOOD READ with Mavis Cheek and Chris Smith - click on: http://www.picador.com/Blogs/2011/6/Micka-by-Frances-Kay-on-A-Good-Read
Please come and read my blog: franceskaywriter.wordpress.com
Until 'Micka' was published, my writing was all for theatre and mostly for children. My most recent play, 'A FEAST OF BONES' was in the 2013 Dulin Theatre Festival.
Writing gives me a chance to explore my obsessions - with early twentieth century Antarctic expeditions, dystopias, Ancient Rome and the secret lives of children, amongst others.

'Micka' was partly inspired by children I met on adventure playgrounds in Birmingham, Edinburgh and Tyneside, as well as Walsall and Perth, where I worked on two projects with travelling families. The boys who tell the story are composites of many children I knew growing up in the toughest part of Notting Hill, together with elements of myself. The challenge was to speak in the voices of two very different boys, and to create a fictional world where empathy and compassion were, for both of them, almost completely absent.
It's not a happy read, I know, but I believe there is a possibility of redemption at the end.
Thank you for being a reader!
If you read and enjoy my books, please do two things: ask your local library to get a copy, and tell ten other people. Word of mouth is the very best way to let people know about the existence of these books. With 2,000 published each week, it's hard to make a splash.

Product Description


'Micka turns ten at the start of the grim, gripping debut novel, but it is a far from happy birthday...It is difficult to recommend enthusiastically such a distressing book, but readers who are willing to engage with such brutal material will discover a writer of real talent.' --The Times

'This novel contains some of the funniest observations of of adult nonsense and one of the most graphic and distrubing scenes you are ever likely to read, imparted through the deadpan narration of children...We watch with a growing sense of dread as the story accelerates unstoppably towards what we knew from the start would not be a happy ending. Stunning.' --WBQ

'a brutal and brilliant debut...Micka is unsentimentally grimy in its depiction of the inner life of your average juvenile delinquent and packs a terrific wallop.' --Hot Press

'Playwright Frances Kay's first novel comes deservedly adorned with praise by Anne Enright and Carol Gebler . . . despite of the grim subject matter, Mickas is never hard to read, largely because of the distinctive voices Kay finds for her two protagonists, and the skill which she folds a supernatural element into her otherwise naturalistic tale.' --Financial Times

'This pulverising account of two boys and the dire consequences of casual neglect seems familiar, but is superbly articulated . . . The book's brutality is sickening in places, yet each voice is distinct and matter-of fact, the imagery lucid, spare and uncompromising.' -- Guardian

'Dark, shocking and beautifully written, this is a story that will imprint itself on your memory.' -- Take a Break Fiction Feast

'Frances Kay's first novel is a searing, uncompromising story about the deprived, neglected child, 10 year-old Micka. It left me enraged and tearful, the first time I've cried on finishing a book since Black Beauty.' -- Irish Examiner

About the Author

Frances Kay is a children’s playwright who was born in London and now lives in Ireland. She has previously written for the theatre and TV, and has worked with gypsies, prisoners and children in both the UK and Ireland. She is married to musician Nico Brown and they have two daughters.

Micka is her first novel.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By H. meiehofer VINE VOICE on 30 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Micka is a seriously unpleasant book, but for the right reasons. In no way could it be described as an entertainment; it is a serious book about very serious issues.

The tale is told in two voices; the eponymous Micka and his new found friend Laurie. Both characters come from broken homes and have already been damaged by their experiences. In the course of the book both characters undergo further degradation. This is especially true of Micka. Some of the events in his family are quite simply horrific, and this reader found some of the scenes actually quite difficult to read. The two "voices" irritated me from time to time, but I suspect that this merely reflects their authenticity all the more.

There is a feeling as the story unfolds that the boys are headed towards a horrific crime and this proves to be the case, although (without giving the ending away) what actually happens is not what you might expect.

The horrific exploitation of Micka clearly acts as a root cause of his behaviour. Despite the crimes he commits, Frances Kay manages to evoke some sympathy for the character, by providing him with an authentic voice which allows us to understand and sympathise with him rather than simply writing him off as a monster. The juxtaposition of the two character's narratives also drives the story well and allows us to appreciate differing perspectives and to understand the petty jealousies and other motivations which drive the boy's relationship.

Micka is not an easy book. If you want a nice beach read then look elsewhere. However, if you want a challenging narrative which explores controversial issues, you should give this a try.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Cronin VINE VOICE on 12 July 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Micka has to be one of the most poignant and heart-breaking stories I have ever read.it follows the life of Micka (a poor council-flat child) and Laurie, the disturbing offspring of divorced middle-class parents.

Micka is hungry, cold and frequently physically abused by his older brothers. He finds some refuge in a gypsy camp, in his artwork and dreams of owning a pup. Despite all the nastiness and violence in his life, he is innocent, but powerless to protect himself.

This debut novel from the strong voice of Frances Kay is, at times, downright disturbing and horrific. Yet, it is clear that such events are real and happen to children on a regular basis. It shapes their lives, and drives them to do things that appear perfectly normal due to the warped dimensions of their world.

Micka is not a happy novel, it is not a pleasant read. It is very very good.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Lyne VINE VOICE on 3 July 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book came as a bit of a shock.

The book is about two young children, Micka and Laurie who meet up at school. Micka is from a very disturbed family, and is constantly being beaten and abused by his older brothers. Laurie's parents have split up and his Mum seems to care little for him. The children begin a troubling friendship that leads to a horrifying climax via some pretty disturbing events.

It is written in the style of the children thinking and speaking, and this makes some of the scenes both more realistic yet at the same time more horrific. There are times when I had to put the book down for a while before getting up enough courage to press on. But despite the horror the story is very compelling, and you have to turn to the next page to find out how the inevitable climax unfolds. And by the end I actually began to feel sorry for Micka, as despite the things he has done I found it hard to blame him for it as opposed to all of the other people in his life abusing and exploiting him.

It would seem from reading about the author that she has some experience of young offenders, and this knowledge comes through quite clearly whilst you are reading the book. A brilliant debut novel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Green Knight on 29 July 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the story of a small boy from Newcastle. His name is Michael, but they call him 'Micka'.

From the moment that Frances Kay's debut novel begins, there is a horrible inevitability about the book. The spare prose, the brutal phrasing, the graphic cruelty on almost every page sucks the reader into the tormented life of Micka - a life born of poverty, deprivation and abuse, the like of which most readers can only imagine, and would probably prefer not to think about.

The book is difficult to put down, but that does not mean it is an easy read. It isn't. It hurts. The jolting truth in every sentence hurts in the way that Micka is hurt again and again, and the fact that sympathy is always tempered by horror at the boy's twisted actions hurts most of all. The detached lack of sentiment in the writing serves only to pack a punch even more powerful than the fists of Micka's bestial brother.

Ms Kay is to be congratulated. She has held up an uncompromising and uncomfortable mirror to the vileness that recent history has managed to create in whole swathes of our society. There is true social conscience here - and it is infinitely more effective than any political manifesto.

If this is the author's first novel, then her second will be well worth waiting for - though with trepidation rather than eagerness. It will be compulsive reading, of that there can be no doubt - but it probably won't be much fun.

MICKA is, quite simply, superb.
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