The Boy Who Stole Attila’s Horse

9781782271017Iván Repila

First Sentence:     ‘It looks impossible to get out,’ he says.

Back of the book:

‘It looks impossible to get out,’ he says. And also: ‘But we’ll get out.’

Two brothers, Big and Small, are trapped at the bottom of a well. They have no food and little chance of rescue. Only the tempting spectre of insanity offers a way out. As Small’s wits fail, Big formulates a desperate plan.

With the authority of the darkest fables, and the horrifying inevitability of all-too-real life, Repila’s unique allegory explores the depths of human desperation and, ultimately, our almost unending capacity for hope.

Quote from the book:

Big remains silent, though his breathing has quickened and his heart is pumping acid. He locks his jaw hard, grinding his teeth and making the nerves in the gums between his teeth ring. It’s a pleasant kind of pain, which suppresses the scream building up inside him. A scream like a lump of food in the stomach after a heavy meal.

And willing the wind to carry consonants and vowels across the night, and for his words to penetrate further than any scream could reach, he whispers:

‘I’m going to kill you.’

* * * *

 Last Sentence:     And while the night closes its gates above him, announcing the end of an era of darkness, blooming like a cluster of promises in his chest which, despite his death, will keep on growing, he wonders if he should cut the ropes and let himself fall, or if it would be better, after all, to retrieve the rotting corpse of his brother and hold him up as a symbol of insurrection, and for his anniversary to light the darkness with a tremor of footsteps and noise, and for us to wake up tomorrow from this grim dream with the courage of a rising sea, tearing down the walls that silenced us, regaining our ground, having our say.