The most unsettling English novel of the 1960s brought back to print after over 50 years
“The most frightening novel of the year.” – The Scotsman
When Todd, Randy, and Carter have grown up together. They have the same interests as other teenage boys: girls, cars, money, future careers. But when they decide to kidnap a young boy and hold him captive in an abandoned quarry outside their town, they release more primitive instincts of violence and control.
In QUARRY, Jane White creates a situation both fantastic and realistic. Her story works as a convincing account of a crime and as powerful piece of symbolism that raises disturbing questions about the latent capacity for evil that hides within apparently normal, unexceptional people.
“A really remarkable first novel. I haven’t been so moved and frightened . . . in years.” – The Spectator
Todd, Randy, and Carter come across a boy while roaming the countryside near their town. They take him hostage in a cave in an abandoned quarry and consider what to do next.
In Lord of the Flies, William Golding needed a plane crash and a desert island to bring out the capacity for violence and evil in his English schoolboys. Jane White, a mother and housewife living in Godalming when she wrote QUARRY, needed only a chance encounter in fields not unlike those around her own development.
QUARRY is deeply unsettling. White’s teenaged kidnappers ride bikes, worry about exams, have to be home in time for supper. Yet they also imprison and torture another boy with the cold calculating objectivity that Hannah Arendt called “the banality of evil.”
Written in cool, realistic prose, QUARRY pulls the reader into a vortex of violence and inhumanity. It’s a gripping and believable account of a crime and a parable filled with complex symbolism.
“Nothing since A High Wind in Jamaica probes the depths of innocence with such terror and finesse as Jane White’s novel,” declared Newsday.
Jane White was born in Cambridge in 1934 and grew up on the North Norfolk coast. She won a scholarship to study English Literature at Girton College, Cambridge, graduating in 1957. Settling in Godalming, Surrey, she published her first novel QUARRY in 1967 and then six further novels and an acclaimed memoir Norfolk Child, which was serialised on BBC Radio 4 's Woman's Hour in 1974. Following a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1979, she campaigned for better understanding of women's health. She died in 1985.
Author City: Norwich UNK