This Mortal Boy
About the Book
Winner of The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2019
Winner of the New Zealand Booklovers Prize for Fiction 2019
Winner of the NZ Heritage Book Awards 2018
The offender is not one of ours. It is unfortunate that we got this undesirable from his homeland.
Auckland, October 1955. If young Paddy Black sings to himself he can almost see himself back home in Belfast. Yet, less than two years after sailing across the globe in search of a better life, here he stands in a prison cell awaiting trial for murder. He pulled a knife at the jukebox that night, but should his actions lead him to the gallows? As his desperate mother waits on, Paddy must face a judge and jury unlikely to favour an outsider, as a wave of moral panic sweeps the island nation.
Fiona Kidman’s powerful novel explores the controversial topic of the death penalty with characteristic empathy and a probing eye for injustice.
'A beautiful writer' The Times
'In This Mortal Boy, Fiona Kidman has written an intensely human and empathetic story' The Ockham Book Awards
‘Like Hilary Mantel, she writes with acute observation and attention to detail, getting inside the skin of her characters’ New Zealand Books
‘A tale about violent acts that is infused with humanity and compassion’ New Zealand Listener
‘Kidman . . . has performed in The Mortal Boy a terrific feat of imagination. . . . This Mortal Boy is to be praised for its sustained storytelling and moral vision' Mark Broatch, Landfall
‘Her portrayal of Black as a youth who makes an awful mistake is a heartbreaking one….This very human novel is as good an argument as you’ll ever find for the abolition of capital punishment’ The Spinoff (NZ)
‘This is an important book which reminds us of the fragility of youth and how devastatingly lives can be altered by a moment’s action’ The Australian Women’s Weekly