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School's Out

by Christophe Dufosse

Wow, not a book to take to bed with you especially if you are a teacher! A chilling tale of a class of children who appear to be precocious but are secretly executing a campaign of menace against their teachers and classmates. Incredibly gripping and atmospheric, I certainly didn't anticipate the ending.

Extract

As the pupils passed through the classroom door I was aware first of all of a swarming of maleness, a concentration of masculine energy. The sensations of femininity only came afterwards, once the class had taken up their positions beside their chairs without a murmer, staring at me with faces free os expression. The last time I had seen pupils waiting for a teacher to give them permission to sit down was at the Protestant College which I had myself attended, and for a secind I had a vivid mental image of the portrait above the blackboard. I often thought of the practice of standing to attention in civilian context an old custom that had fallen into desetide, a tangibly unsettling fragment of the past. If some pupils continued to show their respect in this way it seemed to me that they were asserting a sophisticated attitude connected with the exercise of some obscure power.
'Sit down!' There was barely a sound, barely a scrape of chair against floor. The room contracted with sudden violence, and the fluescent lights that had just been switched on somehow shifted the still and wintry context in which I was to speak.
Translated by Shaun

Parallels

A Secret History by Donna Tartt
A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
 

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