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. It also brings the macabre and darkly-religious world of the American Southern Gothic to the north of England. Killing The Horse is set in the landscape and dialect of the county and fuses realism with the mythical.