Killing the Horses

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'Killing the Horses' is set on the outskirts of Bradford over the course of one day. It follows two fourteen-year-old schoolboys, Ryan and Liam, who are skiving off school and playing in the woods beside where they live. From the boys' first violent interaction with the natural world, the story progresses through the revelation of a series of dark memories which haunt both the boys and the landscape around them. Their violent and symbolic interactions with the animals and landscape serve to substitute their inability to express themselves verbally. The boys are too entangled in the savagery of the landscape around them to be able to separate themselves from it. The novella recalls the childlike simplicity of 'A Kestrel for a Knave' fused with the violent intensity of 'Wuthering Heights' and the poetry of Ted Hughes.