Synopses & Reviews
A vertiginous black comedy by one of France?s most exciting new novelists
Winner of France?s most prestigious prize for a first novel, School?s Out is a gripping re- imagining of Lord of the Flies¸ at once scarier and funnier than its prototype. When high school teacher Éric Capadis is found dead, an apparent suicide, his friend Pierre Hoffman takes over his class. The students in 9F are well behaved yet oddly menacing?Hoffman?s colleagues warn him to watch out for them. But it?s only when he agrees to accompany his charges on a school trip to the Normandy coast that he begins to understand the reason for their bizarre solidarity. School?s Out is a triumph of nihilism and surreal wit.
"Awarded the Prix Premier Roman in France, Dufoss's compelling debut portrays the uneasy divide between adult and adolescent with superb skill, despite the sometimes clunky translation, which puts stilted language in the mouths of 13-year-olds. In 1995, 32-year-old Pierre Hoffman, who teaches French in the quiet town of Clerval far from sophisticated Paris, takes on the history/geography class for his colleague, 25-year-old ric Capadis, after Capadis jumps to his death while 'the children of 9F' watch enigmatically. Was it suicide or murder? After Capadis's funeral, one of his students warns Hoffman not to take on the class again after the holidays: 'They'll destroy you.' Hoffman spies on the students' secret meetings and learns mysterious deaths have shadowed the entire class since they started school. In the end, Hoffman accompanies these strange teens on a class trip with haunting consequences. Dufoss, himself a former teacher, sustains a terrifying feeling of dread throughout this grim thriller. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Brilliant....Forcibly reminds one of Donna Tartt's The Secret History" Elle
"Dufossé is roughly what you'd get if you crossed Houellebecq with Alan Warner. His writing is cool, sexy and sinister." Esquire
"An extraordinary first novel." The Times (London)
"More an existential horror story than a straight thriller, with lots of strange conversations and black humor thrown in for effect, this unusual novel also recalls the work of Michel Houellebecq." Booklist
"[A] memorable but frustrating read. The details do not linger, but the gist of the story does: By the time you reach the end, you'll never listen to Alice Cooper the same way again." Charlotte Observer
A vertiginous black comedy by one of France's most exciting new novelists.
Winner of France's most prestigious prize for a first novel, School's Out is a gripping re-imagining of Lord of the Flies at once scarier and funnier than its prototype. When high school teacher Eric Capadis is found dead, an apparent suicide, his friend Pierre Hoffman takes over his class. The students in 9F are well behaved yet oddly menacing Hoffman's colleagues warn him to watch out for them. But it's only when he agrees to accompany his charges on a school trip to the Normandy coast that he begins to understand the reason for their bizarre solidarity. School's Out is a triumph of nihilism and surreal wit.
In this brilliant and surreal French thriller, a teacher commits suicide and a colleague takes over his class of strangely unsettling children. A novel that skates close to fantasy, it is also chillingly observant about society and the children it produces.
About the Author
Christophe Dufossé is a former schoolteacher who lives in Paris. School's Out
is his first novel.
Shaun Whiteside's translations from the French include novels by Amélie Nothomb, Michèle Desbordes, and Patrick Rambaud.