Rupture (aka A Thousand Cuts) by Simon Lelic

Esta entrada es bilingüe; para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse por la ventana hacia abajo

Picador, 2010 (paperback). 318 pages. ISBN: 978-0-330-50768-4.

Rupture (A Thousand Cuts in the U.S.) is the first novel published by Simon Lelic. The story revolves around the aftermath of a tragedy that, apparently, no one could have predicted. Samuel Szajkowski was a young and  introverted history teacher who had been hired recently by a London school. One hot summer day during a school assembly he walked in and opened fire killing three pupils and a colleague before turning the gun on himself. At first glance this was a clear open-and-shut case.

Detective Inspector Lucia May is responsible for interviewing witnesses and drafting the final report. During her investigation she begins to find systematic evidence of bullying at the school and starts asking herself some questions:

“Why was the onus always on the weak when it was the strong who had the liberty to act? Why were the weak obliged to be so brave when the strong had licence to behave like such cowards?”

The book’s structure is somehow unusual. It is made out of short chapters, easy to read, alternating the accounts given by the different people involved in the events, teachers, pupils, staff and parents, along with the point of view of Lucia, herself a victim of bullying and sexual harassment at her workplace.

‘I saw trouble where before there was calm,’ he said. ‘I saw disruption and discord where before the officers in this department wound have counted their colleagues as their closest friends. That’s what I saw, Inspector.’  

‘Before. You mean before I joined.’

‘Yes Lucia. Before you joined.’

This has been a truly interesting and stimulating book, hard to put it down. It can be read almost in one sitting. It is beautifully written and thought provoking. I’m most grateful to Maxine for her superb suggestion. You can find below some other reviews. For me it was certainly a great read.

Rupture has been reviewed by Kimbofo at Reading Matters, Maxine at Euro Crime, Bernadette at Reactions to Reading, Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise, Sergio at Tipping My Fedora

Rupture (A Thousand Cuts en los Estados Unidos) de Simon Lelic

Rupture es la primera novela publicada de Simon Lelic. La historia gira en torno a las consecuencias de una tragedia que, al parecer, nadie había podido predecir. Samuel Szajkowski era un joven e introvertido profesor de historia que había sido contratado recientemente por un colegio de Londres. Un caluroso día de verano durante una asamblea escolar se acercó y abrió fuego matando a tres alumnos y a una prfesora antes de pegarse un tiro. A primera vista parece ser un ejemplo claro de un caso abierto y cerrado.

La detective inspectora Lucia May es la responsable de entrevistar a los testigos y de la redacción del informe final. Durante su investigación empieza a encontrar pruebas sistemáticas de acoso en el colegio y comienza a hacerse algunas preguntas:

“¿Por qué será siempre responsabilidad de los débiles, cuando es el fuerte el que tiene libertad de acción? ¿Por qué se obliga a los débiles a ser tan valientes cuando son los fuertes los que tiene licencia para comportarse como cobardes?” (Mi traducción).

La estructura del libro es algo inusual. Está formada por capítulos cortos, de fácil lectura, alternando los testimonios de las diferentes personas involucradas en los hechos, maestros, alumnos, personal escolar y padres, junto con el punto de vista de Lucia, ella misma víctima de acoso sexual y de intimidación en su puesto de trabajo.

‘He visto problemas donde antes había calma’, dijo. ‘He visto perturbación y discordia, donde antes los oficiales de este departamento consideraban a sus colegas sus mejores amigos. Esto es lo que he visto, inspectora.’

’Antes. ¿Quieres decir antes de mi ingreso.’

’Sí Lucía. Antes de su ingreso.’

Este ha sido un libro realmente interesante y estimulante, difícil de dejar a un lado. Se puede leer casi de un tirón. Está maravillosamente escrito e invita a la reflexión. Le estoy muy agradecido a Maxine por su excelente recomendación. Para mí ha sido, sin duda, una magnífica lectura.

10 thoughts on “Rupture (aka A Thousand Cuts) by Simon Lelic”

  1. José Ignacio – A fine review – thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed this novel as much as you did. I also thought it was very well written. It’s troubling, thought-provoking and raises some disturbing issues. But at the same time it is, as you say, beautifully written and peopled with well-drawn characters. Folks, if you haven’t read it, I recommend it highly.

  2. A great book to finish your British challenge on I think Jose Ignacio – it is one that has stayed with me since I read it…still making me think all these months later.

  3. I began reading it this summer but put it down when the massacre in Norway took place. I just didn´t feel it was the proper time to read it, but I´ll pick it up again later, and I expect I´ll also enjoy it a lot.

  4. So glad you enjoyed this, Jose Ignacio, and thanks for the kind words. I did not enjoy his second, but apparently his third (not yet out) returns to similar themes addressed in Rupture/1000 Cuts.

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