By George, By Wesley Stace

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The Independent Culture

The premise of Wesley Stace's anarchic and funny second novel may come across as a bit of a mouthful, but it's a virtuoso performance. The book concerns the histories of two Georges – one is an 11-year-old public schoolboy, the other his ventriloquist grandfather's dummy. The dummy relates his life story from his pre-war beginnings to his rise to fame as the forces' favourite.

Decades later his namesake finds himself packed off to boarding school, separated from his mother, a leading Principal Boy, and his grandma, Queenie, a top children's party entertainer. The human George, fascinated by the subversive possibilities of ventriloquism, starts to research the family trade. A novel with an absorbing plot and plenty of amusing banter – especially from the puppet who can give voice to his more unspeakable whims and desires.