The Hand-Reared Boy is a landmark novel of our time.
It was the first British novel to explore, frankly and with a gleeful honesty, the sexual awakening of a teenage boy. It was regarded as so outrageous that thirteen publishers initially refused to publish it. The Hand-Reared Boy no longer shocks, instead, it stands as the classic novel of teenage self-discovery and the realisation of a young boy of love, and the fact that other people are more than sexual objects.
Depicting the preoccupations common to all young boys as they reach puberty, The Hand-Reared Boy is a delightfully funny account of burgeoning sexuality, marked by self-revelation, self-mockery and a complete absence of prurience. It was shortlisted for the Lost Booker Prize in 2010.
Brian Aldiss has been a bestselling writer since the 1950’s, and is best known for his science fiction. He has won every major science fiction award (as well as influencing the work of Stanley Kubrick), he has won three Hugo Awards (1962, 1973, 1987) and two British Science Fiction Association Awards (1972 and 1982). In addition, he has also published poetry and autobiography.
“A tender love story. In the amorous mishaps of Horatio Stubbs, the inability of teenagers to distinguish between love and sex with painful fidelity.”
“Its honesty strikes one as refreshing. Its story of an adolescent suburban lad, his brother and schoolfriends, horny and sex crazy, is a graphic portrait of the sexual trials of teenagers in the 30s.”
“A heart-wrenching love story… The first British novel to explore sexuality in such a frank and honest way.”
“So filthy, I read it with the door of my office closed, as if afraid of being caught.”
Rachel Cooke, ‘Observer’
“Forty years before The Inbetweeners gave teenage boys a mirror in which to watch themselves on television, Brian Aldiss wrote this novel about childhood and adolescent sexuality… A sustained paean to male masturbation. It would be easy to express some sort of outrage at the relentless tugging, the lines crossed, the taboos broken, but the book is characterised above all by a welcome honesty… A touching tale”
“Brian W.Aldiss is best known for his science fiction novels but this work… (is) wall to wall masturbation. It concerns Horation Stubbs, a boy just reaching puberty, and his sexual awakenings. It was the first English novel to explore such a scenario in such frank detail.”
“One of the first literary novels to explore the realities of teenage sexuality. It is explicit, still quite shocking but also very funny.”
Me and My Big Mouth blog