Joe is different. Sensitive and vulnerable, he is bullied by the local kids, he lives with his aging mother and the highlight of his year is playing the back-end of a horse in the local panto. Jim has no job. He also can’t drive, he’s never had a girlfriend and he’s just been released from prison.
When Jim returns home, an extraordinary friendship between the two outsiders begins. But when rumours of an unthinkable crime get out of control, Jim and Joe’s loyalties are put to the test.
A wonderful and utterly gripping coming-of-age story and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, Magnificent Joe is a funny and touching tale of the lengths we go to when everything we have is at stake.
James Wheatley is a research consultant, musician, and writer. A graduate of the Sheffield Hallam Creative Writing MA, taught by Jane Rogers and Sean O'Brien, he lives in Yorkshire where he divides his time between writing and playing guitar in several bands. This is his first novel.
'A study of male friendship turned sour, this novel chills and convinces.'
– Financial Times
'A dark, angry novel, tightly wound.'
'Wheatley is that increasingly rare type of young writer: he has experienced life, and it shows.'
– Daily Mail
'A great debut - If this book is anything to go by [Wheatley] will have a bright future.'
– A Fiction Habit
'Wheatley paints an interesting portrait of a stable situation disintegrating despite the best attempts to hold it together. Magnificent Joe is its author's first novel, and leaves me wondering where he might go next.'
– Follow the Thread
'Raw and powerful, yet compelling and emotional.'
– New Books Magazine
'This fine first book, half bildungsroman and half "state of England" novel, tells the story of Jim and his mates growing up in a village in the north of England - Wheatley can sure turn a phrase - A sweetly sad story.'
– Publishers Weekly
'Joe's the only magnificent one in this novel about working-class life – a grim and gritty novel, with a slight ray of hope at the end.'
– Kirkus Reviews
'A brutal, sometimes moving book...written with a spare, unsentimental swagger and plenty of confrontational coal-black humour.'
'Taut, tense and tragic - a triumphant debut.'
– Ben Myers, author of Pig Iron
'Strong and spare - witty and utterly convincing.'
– Jane Rogers, author of The Testament of Jessie Lamb