- 8,49 €
Set in the underbelly of Victorian London's East End, JOE RAT follows the fortunes of a tosher, Joe, who lives by scavenging in the sewers around the area of Whitechapel. It's a fast-paced and vivid tale of survival in a society which fosters neither friendship nor trust. But Joe comes to know both after a chance encounter with a runaway girl, Bess, and the 'madman' who inhabits Pound's Field. With gangs lurking round every corner and a life spent in the rat-infested tunnels below the streets, Joe needs more than a prime piece of tosh to change his fortunes . . .
Portraying a side of Victorian London as seedy as any chronicled by Dickens, debut author Barratt skillfully tells the story of two children and a madman who save each other from various sorts of living hell. Joe is an orphan and a "tosher," who spends his days underground, sifting through the rat-infested sewers for "a rusted horseshoe, a tin kettle, and half a dozen fresh animal bones" anything that might turn a penny for the mastermind known as "Mother," who controls his crime-ridden, lower-class neighborhood. Bess, an impoverished country girl, has been brought to the city by her mother, who hopes to sell her into child prostitution. Together, they take refuge in the decaying home of "the Madman," a tortured, purportedly supernatural figure. Barratt, a native Londoner, has a talent for historical detail, and is particularly adept at describing the brutal existence of sewer rats, touts, rat-catchers, and various lowlifes, while still providing a limited but suitably Victorian happy ending. Ages 11 up.