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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

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Voted 2009 Penguin Orange Readers' Group Book of the Year.

Now a major film.

Initially it is difficult to believe that the young son of the commandant of Auschwitz is as innocent as he is, then you begin to accept his ignorance and follow a developing friendship through to its dreadful conclusion. That this is written for children is easy to forget. I urge you to read Morris Gleitzman’s Once, too, for the Jewish perspective.

If you like John Boyne you might also like to read books by William Boyd, Alan Hollinghurst and Sebastian Faulks.


The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Berlin 1942 When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

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An account of a dreadful episode, short on actual horror but packed with overtones that remain in the imagination. Plainly and sometimes archly written, it stays just ahead of its readers before delivering its killer punch in the final pages -- Nick Tucker * Independent * A small wonder of a book. Bruno's education is conducted slowly, through a series of fleeting social encounters rather than by plunging him into a nightmare landscape * Guardian * An extraordinary tale of friendship and the horrors of war seen thorugh the eyes of two young boys, it's stirring stuff. Raw literary talent at its best. More please! * Irish Independent * Quite impossible to put down, this is the rare kind of book that doesn't leave your head for days. Word of mouth should be strong and this has the potential to cross over to an adult audience. A unique and captivating novel, which I believe deserves huge success -- Becky Stadwick * The Bookseller * Brilliantly written, superbly conceived novel, ending with words as bleakly ambiguous as any I have ever read. Boyne's ability to lead us on with crystal clear prose so that we unthinkingly fall into the elephant trap reminds me irresistably of another Irishman - Jonathan Swift -- Dennis Hamley * The School Librarian *

About the Author

John Boyne

John Boyne was our Guest Editor in May 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.

John Boyne was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1971, and studied English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and creative writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where he was awarded the Curtis Brown prize.

His early writing consisted mostly of short stories and he published a number of them. His first story, The Entertainments Jar, was shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Award in Ireland. In total, he has published about 70 short stories.


His 2006 novel, THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS, was made into an award-winning Miramax film. The novel itself won 2 Irish Book Awards, the Bisto Book of the Year, and was shortlisted or won a host of international awards. Amongst other accolades, it spent more than 80 weeks at no.1 in Ireland, topped the New York Times Bestseller List, and was the bestselling book in Spain in both 2007 and 2008. Worldwide, it has sold more than 5 million copies and was the 6th highest selling novel of 2008.

His novels are published in 42 languages.

He lives in Dublin.

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Book Info

Publication date

11th September 2008


John Boyne

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Random House Children's Books


256 pages


Literary Fiction
NewGen - YA Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites

Adventure stories (Children's / Teenage)



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