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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars

on 23 September 2016
I have a feeling of Deja Vu here, probably from reading it in print long ago. Far it enough back anyway not to spoil it. A Greek tragedy set in Bucks but really in Dublin.Love, jealousy, isolation, depression, mania, all in a closed perhaps closeted community. Very little happiness or satisfaction at any level. Very well captured.
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on 30 May 2017
A hard read but filled with wonderful characters. Funny,poignant and emotional, grips you almost immediately. Would recommend for 16 plus
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on 20 May 2004
This is a classic, a book that fed thousands of fantasies in the 1960s and early 1970s. Homosexuality in school before we were even called gay. A little longer than it need have been, and yet every word so relevant. Eccentric schoolmasters. A barking mad headmaster. Loves traded, faded and jaded. It needs to be read as a history, but I read it first as contemporary. I sought it out, scoured second hand bookshops for it, and found it, eventually, on Amazon. It was worth the 10 years I spent looking
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on 9 January 2016
I first came across this book many years ago, probably sometime in the mid 70s when my school days were near enough to be remembered without affection. Although I was a day boy and went to a state grammar school there were enough parallels here wth my own school experience to make this novel particularly relevant (not least the romantic interest, in my case, alas, unrequited. I kept a copy for years but it must have been cleared out in one of the moves of my adulthood so it was fantastic to come across a reprinted copy in a bookshop. (Not Amazon I have to confess). Rereading it after many years and from a perhaps more dispassionate angle it still seems to me to be superbly plotted wth wonderful characterisations which just avoid the caracature. The ending, triumph and tragedy, which play past each other in ignorance is both stunning and shocking and some of the set pieces are very well done, particularly the end of term play where the enthusiasm of the players is contrasted by the splenetic outrage of the headmaster.

This is the same generation of the film 'If'. What is surprising is that the public school system survies.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 September 2007
Weatherhill, a pubic school set high on a hill top in Buckinghamshire is the setting for this appealing story which follows the lives of students and staff alike over a year in the early 1960s. The school has been waning over recent years and it is hoped by the school governors that the appointment of a new Head will rectify the problem. However change is not so welcome neither among the well established staff, nor the relatively passive students; especially when it comes to a purging of those who are deemed to have become involved romantically with one another, boys with boys.
The story concentrates on a few fairly eccentric mostly unmarried members of staff, and an equally small group of boys. There is Rowles the long established Deputy Head who avoids emotional involvement; Jimmy the out of place games master who is on first name terms with the boys; Ashley the insular and slightly bitter young English master who has never quite got over his failed love with another boy when he was a student; and the flamboyant and outspoken aging chaplain; and of course Crabtree, the insensitive new Headmaster and his interfering wife and obnoxious daughter.
Among the students: Steel the creep of a Head Boy; senior prefect Terrance Carleton the handsome but shy outstanding all-rounder; and Allen the beautiful younger boy who falls for Carleton.
The story follows the interaction of these and a several other characters; touching on staff politics; the new Head's investigations; the love interests among the boys. Featuring prominently is the relationship between English master Ashley and Carleton; and Carleton's relationship with the younger Allen, where we see a number of parallels. The two boys fall deeply and touchingly in love, but agree to maintain a chaste relationship.
The writing is intelligent, and the reader needs to be alert. I did find it initially uninvolving, perhaps because it is at first unclear who amongst the numerous characters is going to take centre stage. But then I suddenly found myself absorbed in the events, especially when it came to the cricket match; the writing conveying very well the excitement of the match (and I am not a lover of the game!). Carleton is a very appealing rather naïve boy and one's heart aches for him. Altogether it is a most engaging story, at times funny, with an outcome that is at the same time tragic, poignant and yet very positive
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on 27 January 2016
can't remember getting thid
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on 27 October 2014
A period piece which will be recognised by many who like me went to a British boarding school. Very insular places with all kinds of intrigues going on not just 'crushes'! This book is well written. It does make me wonder about lost opportunities. Plenty of angst and self examination. It came across in the book how final one's last day was - going out into the wide world - is captured here. Todays generation must find it easier to do catch-up on school relationships via social media. If this is your genre it is a must read.
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on 3 June 2015
The book is about relationships in a boys boarding school; in many ways typecast characters appear as both pupils and masters (and indeed others including wives and matrons) are shown with a variety of passions and relationships. The new head has been installed with the express aim of rooting out homosexuality but his first act is to dismiss the games master who's in a relationship with a matron. He does eventually ask the school's doctor to investigate indecent behaviour and this leads to expulsions. However, in the end, the book is depressing in that boring conformity triumphs. If I have a criticism it's that it hops between characters in the first person and reportage at will and sometimes with confusing rapidity.
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on 15 December 2014
Excellent and arrived as stated.
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on 27 May 2016
no problems
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