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Schools Out Paperback – Jun 1 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Paperbacks; Tra edition (June 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143038117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143038115
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.6 x 18.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,617,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Awarded the Prix Premier Roman in France, Dufossé's compelling debut portrays the uneasy divide between adult and adolescent with superb skill. In 1995, 32-year-old Pierre Hoffman, who teaches French in the quiet town of Clerval far from sophisticated Paris, takes on the history/geography class for his colleague, 25-year-old Éric Capadis, after Capadis jumps to his death while "the children of 9F" watch enigmatically. Was it suicide or murder? After Capadis's funeral, one of his students warns Hoffman not to take on the class again after the holidays: "They'll destroy you." Hoffman spies on the students' secret meetings and learns mysterious deaths have shadowed the entire class since they started school. In the end, Hoffman accompanies these strange young teens on a class trip with haunting consequences. Dufossé, himself a former teacher, sustains a terrifying feeling of dread throughout this grim thriller.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In this stylish update of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, debut novelist Dufosse substitutes French middle-school classroom 9F for the isolated island setting of Golding's classic work. Substitute teacher Pierre Hoffman must take over the classroom of a teacher who has committed suicide. The students are so eerily well behaved that Hoffman's initial impression is that "they were neither a class, nor a group, but a gang." Then a student who tries to warn Hoffman to turn down the assignment shows up in class bearing facial scars from a knife assault, and Hoffman begins receiving disturbing phone calls. Initial inquiries reveal that the students have been in the same class together since kindergarten, and other teachers at the school are afraid of them. As Dufosse expertly builds up a menacing atmosphere, he also reveals that the teachers' behavior is nearly as questionable as their students'. More an existential horror story than a straight thriller, with lots of strange conversations and black humor thrown in for effect, this unusual novel also recalls the work of Michel Houellebecq. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Philosophic thriller July 4 2007
By M. J. Smith - Published on
Format: Paperback
The cover blurbs lead one to expect a thriller of some sort - think Class Trip. If this is your expectation expect to be disappointed. One can be a third of the way through the book and still have little tension causing you to read until 3 a.m. - my test for a good thriller or mystery. And unlike The Class Trip, School's Out will not lead you towards understanding of an individual's aberrant behavior. Rather the strength of School's Out is philosophical and group oriented. Through the rather detailed exploration of the personalities of individuals who must deal with middle school class, the book explore how individuals and groups cope with "reality" - especially the adult coping through becoming an observer, the middle school class coping through uniform compliance. Suicide, physical assault, and other "thriller" plot elements counterbalance the philosophic bent to create a very enjoyable read.

On the down side, the translation is at times awkward. I would like to explain the difficulties away by claiming British usage but phrase such as "two crew" rather than "two crew members" disrupt one's reading more than simple British-isms. The book could be improved by a bit of editing - in the early part of the book the scene setting is overly long for its narrative function. But Dufosse is definitely an author worth watching - entertaining and thought-provoking.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
drudgery July 18 2007
By Doralyn Rush - Published on
Format: Paperback
I want to say that I only managed to get to page 78 in this book and even that was difficult. The write-ups on this book make it sound like it's about students when they didn't even enter the picture until page 54 and only in a perfunctory interaction (and that was the only interaction through page 78). What this book really seems to be about is a boring, solitary bachelor who dwells far too much on his own thoughts (annoying attempts at deep thinking and quasi-intellectualism that end up being nothing but annoying). I could not force myself to finish this book. I figure if it had anything to say, it should have started saying it before a quarter through the book. This was just tedious. I read hordes of books, particularly for young adults (as an English teacher) and I would never recommend this.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A truly creepy thriller! June 14 2007
By Mystery Lover - Published on
Format: Paperback
School's Out is a really intelligent, dark, and weirdly funny thriller. The students in Pierre Hoffman's classroom are out to get him, but he's not sure why, and the disturbing messages he keeps receiving aren't helping. I couldn't put this book down! Definitely for fans of Donna Tartt's The Secret History.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Poor and garrulous writing style. Jan. 18 2008
By shyguy - Published on
Format: Paperback
I picked up the book because of the reviews and acclaims on the cover and the interesting beginning to the novel. After the first page however, it turns out to be a very badly written piece of work. I gave up by around page 50. The narrator describes in excess every single, physical, unimportant detail of the setting or of minor characters and engages in poor similes. His style is badly written. Flat characters are introduced briefly which have no bearing on the plot. Don't waste your time on it.
A disappointing waste of time Sept. 18 2014
By Joel Kramer - Published on
Format: Paperback
"School's Out" never seems to live up to the promise of the positive reviews I read. Described as "sinister", reminiscent of Donna Tartt's The Secret History, and a "re-imagining of Lord of the Flies", the book ends up seeming rather hollow, and never lives up to any of that praise. I was shocked to read that it won a prize in France for first novels.

The book focuses on classroom 9F. Their young, first year teacher, has just committed suicide by jumping from the classroom window, and Pierre Hoffman takes over. He's warned by his fellow teachers and by one of the students of 9F that something's wrong in the class, and that he's in danger, but he never really seems endangered. He gets a strange package in the mail, and suffers through anonymous hangup phone calls, but that's it. He discovers that one of 9F's elementary school teachers is also dead, but as the novel moves toward a surprising climax the whole thing ultimately feels pointless, because the author never lets us get to know any of the students. They act as one group, which is part of the point of the novel, but we never really care about that group, so we aren't really that bothered by 9F's fate.

I guess it's possible that a book like this resonates differently in our culture from the way it does in France, but I felt like reading this was a waste of my time.