A Thousand Cuts

A Thousand Cuts

Book - 2010
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'Find what you were looking for, Inspector?' Every day the same question. A different uniform but the same question. They thought Lucia enjoyed being here. They thought that was why she kept coming back. But they were asking the wrong thing. She had found what she was looking for - she had found what she had been sent to discover - but she had found out more besides. The question was what to do about it. The question was whether to do anything at all. In the depths of a sweltering summer, teacher Samuel Szajkowski walks into his school assembly and opens fire. He kills three pupils and a colleague before turning the gun on himself. Lucia May, the young policewoman who is assigned the case, is expected to wrap up things quickly and without fuss. The incident is a tragedy that could not have been predicted and Szajkowski, it seems clear, was a psychopath beyond help. Soon, however, Lucia becomes preoccupied with the question no one else seems to want to ask: what drove a mild-mannered, diffident school teacher to commit such a despicable crime? Piecing together the testimonies of the teachers and children at the school, Lucia discovers an uglier, more complex picture of the months leading up to the shooting. She realises too that she has more in common with Szajkowski than she could have imagined. As the pressure to bury the case builds, she becomes determined to tell the truth about what happened, whatever the consequences . . .
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2010.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9780330511636
Characteristics: 295 p. ; 22 cm.


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Dec 28, 2014

A deeply moving, and at times bitingly witty novel about a school murder in UK, the terrible crime that is viewed thru many narrators but also goes deeper and examines pervasive school cruelty.

mikeyppl Mar 13, 2012

A brillant novel.

Nov 15, 2011

I started Simon Lelic’s novel and almost didn’t finish it. It seemed too brutally predictable, in spite of a genius first chapter. “A Thousand Cuts” is the story of a young history teacher who inexplicably walks into an assembly at his school and shoots down 3 students and a teacher before turning the gun on himself. It is also the story of a young detective who is assigned to the case and simple cannot get to the foregone conclusion. As she investigates the shooters’ background and interviews the witnesses, a picture of bullying, intimidation and terrible cruelty is revealed, mirroring her own life as a female detective. It is not so much that any new ground is plowed by this novel as that Mr. Lelic is an absolute master of conversation. For this reason alone the book is worth reading. But the message too stays with you – the way that we do so willfully destroy each other with a thousand little cuts.

Jun 23, 2011

The story comes together brilliantly through witness statements to the police. A very clever way to solve what seems a cut and dried case. It takes on the idea that bullying is indeed a societal problem, not just a schoolyard problem.

debwalker Mar 28, 2011

"This is a very timely novel on the insidiousness of bullying and how it can affect all ages, not just kids on the playground. A Thousand Cuts opens with a school shooting committed by a teacher. An open-and-shut case becomes much more when Detective Inspector Lucia May pieces together the testimony from various witnesses and realizes that assigning the blame is not as easy as expected."--Laura Lucy, White Birch Books, North Conway, N.H.


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