Jennie's Reviews > A Thousand Cuts

A Thousand Cuts by Simon Lelic
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's review
Apr 27, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, literary-fiction
Read in January, 2011 — I own a copy

Even with disturbing tales of student suicides evoked by ruthless bullying screaming from recent headlines, few of us are willing to delve into the unremarkable daily tortures behind the spectacle. Lelic brings the issue of bullying—in the school and in workplace, by children and adults—home with his unsettling, penetrating debut novel. Through his protagonist, police investigator Lucia, he asks, “Why was the onus always on the weak when it was the strong who had a liberty to act? Why were the weak obliged to be so brave when the strong had license to behave like such cowards?” His characters are unremarkable and average—which makes their inaction, their cruelty, all the more chilling. Through cutting prose, he masterfully evokes the gut-wrenching betrayal that bullying victims feel when their cries for help go unanswered, and authority tacitly endorse, or even encourage, unspeakable barbarism. A Thousand Cuts leaves you with the disquieting question: what do we cause when we scorn the weak and plea ignorance in the face of cruelty?
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