hyde_park_flats2It is 1973 and twelve-year-old Sebastian Duffy is about as far removed from a hero as it is possible to be. He lives with his Irish parents in a shabby terraced house in an industrial town in the north of England and attends the local comprehensive school, where he excels in being bullied. Miserable schooldays are eclipsed by the shocking brutality of his parents and there isn’t a time in his life he can remember being bruise free. So browbeaten is he, that the thought of sticking up for himself never enters his head; he is a coward, he knows it and that’s that. He is also very poor, each walk to school a catwalk of shame as he models a range of jumble sale couture, bullies not paparazzi snapping at his heels. He is bright and smart, open-faced and optimistic, and the other ‘ethnically challenged’ boys he counts as his friends genuinely like him, yet he possesses almost zero cachet at school, each virtue cancelled out. He is handsome, but small and a recognized victim, smart but pathologically clumsy and rubbish at football, funny but poor and shabbily dressed. And then there is the other thing, the thing that sets him apart from every other school kid, an open invitation to bullies. And if they ever found out his guilty secret…

He has long since retreated into his psyche where he passes the time dreaming, dreaming, forever dreaming, cocooned within his imagination. So, when strange things begin to happen around him, he is able to take them in his stride, writing them off as nonsense. Little does he know that an entire civilisation is trying to contact him. Or does he? What role has he in Hibercadia and what role Hibercadia in him? Is it the fantastical product of a traumatised mind, a place to emulate the boy heroes of the books he devours, or could it be, could it really be…


2 comments

  • Bianca Vroomen

    Very excellent writer and the book a tickfat 10 worth and truth i come from Belgium we speak not often english but i have it read with interesting feelings and forgot the whole world around me. It is a wanna have..

    Reply
    • ben

      Thank you so much, Bianca.

      Reply

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