Josh Lacey discovers that a story about a boy who grows a second head raises fascinating questionsOne morning, 11-year-old Richard Westlake wakes up and notices a lump in his throat, just under his skin. His parents rush him to hospital. The lump gets bigger. Doctors take x-rays and panic. Soon, a second head pops out of his neck, looking almost exactly the same as the first, and demands to be called Rikki.Andy Mulligan, who won the Guardian children’s fiction prize for Return to Ribblestrop, begins his new novel with this simple, funny and very engaging premise: what would happen to an ordinary boy in the last year of primary school if he suddenly grew a spare head?The first few pages race along with speed and wit. Cynical, self-possessed, sardonic, aggressive and boorish, Rikki is world-weary from the first day he arrives. He is entirely different from Richard and his parents, and his personality seems to have emerged from nowhere. Looking at the school uniform that his body is expected to wear, he snaps: “It’s infantile, pseudo-military, identity-sapping baby stuff – you’re letting them infantilise us. It’s for kids.”Like The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, another story of …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books