Children of the Sun by Max Schaefer

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In Britain’s 2010 election, the BNP contested 326 seats, failing to win any but drawing more than half a million votes. In such a climate, it may well be that the flaws of Children of the Sun as literature — never less than engrossing, never quite illuminating — are counterbalanced by its value as social history.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

1970: Fourteen-year-old Tony becomes seduced by Britain’s neo-Nazi movement, sucked into a world of brutal racist violence and bizarre ritual. It’s an environment in which he must hide his sexuality, in which every encounter is potentially deadly.

2003: James is a young writer, living with his boyfriend. In search of a subject, he begins looking into the Far Right in Britain and its secret gay membership. He becomes particularly fascinated by Nicky Crane, one of the leaders of the neo-Nazi movement who came out in 1992 before dying a year later of AIDS.

The two narrative threads of this extraordinarily assured and ambitious first novel follow Tony through the seventies, eighties, and nineties, as the nationalist movement splinters and weakens; and James through a year in which he becomes dangerously immersed in his research. After risky flirtations with individuals on far right websites, he starts receiving threatening phone calls—the first in a series of unexpected events that ultimately cause the lives of these two very different men to unforgettably intersect.

Children of the Sun is a work of great imaginative sympathy and range—a novel of unblinking honesty but also of deep feeling, which illuminates the surprisingly thin line that separates aggression from tenderness.
 

About Max Schaefer

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Max Schaefer was born in London in 1974 and studied at Cambridge and Harvard. Children of the Sun is his first novel.
 
Published October 1, 2007 by Granta UK. 336 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Gay & Lesbian. Fiction
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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Ian McGillis on Apr 01 2011

In Britain’s 2010 election, the BNP contested 326 seats, failing to win any but drawing more than half a million votes. In such a climate, it may well be that the flaws of Children of the Sun as literature — never less than engrossing, never quite illuminating — are counterbalanced by its value as social history.

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