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The Fat Man


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About the Author

Maurice Gee is one of New Zealand's best-known writers for adults and children. He has won a number of literary awards, including the Wattie Award, the Deutz Medal for Fiction, the New Zealand Fiction Award and the New Zealand Children's Book of the Year Award. His junior novel Salt has just won the Young Adult Fiction award at the 2008 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults and the sequel, Gool, was just released by Penguin in June. Maurice lives in Nelson with his wife Margareta, and has two daughters and a son.


Gr 6 Up‘In this engrossing psychological thriller, a devious man, embittered by the taunts he endured as a child, returns to his hometown to seek revenge on the family of one of his tormentors. (Nov.)

In this seamlessly crafted psychological thriller, the sins of the father are visited on the son. Years ago, Herbert Muskie was tormented for being fat by young Colin Potter's father. Now, in the year 1933, bigger (and stronger) than ever, Herbert‘the fat man‘has come home to New Zealand to seek revenge. Caught in the act of stealing a candy bar from Herbert's rucksack, Colin is forcibly drafted into becoming an accomplice to Herbert's evil scheme: he methodically sets out to destroy anyone who has ever maligned him, including his own feeble-minded mother, siblings and in-laws, his new bride and his stepdaughter. Next in line are two of his old classmates‘Colin's mother and father. Gee (The Champion) gives the proverbial victim-turns-villain myth several spellbinding twists, and builds an aura of desperation around those hard hit by the Depression to make credible the psychic spell that a flush Herbert casts over the destitute town. Readers with a hearty appetite for the diabolic will get their fill here as Herbert breaks nearly every code of decency. But what is most fascinating about this horrific story is the author's ability to project Colin's pity for the evildoer. In a final chase scene, Colin catches a glimpse of the tormented fat boy beneath the fat man, and understands the cruelty he himself has suffered. Gee brilliantly allows readers to see the child within each adult, and to recognize the complexity of the consequences one's actions can yield. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)

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