By George is the utterly original story of a flawed but formidable family - and of two very different boys. One is an eleven-year-old schoolboy, the other a ventriloquist's dummy. With no voice of his own but plenty to say, the dummy tells his life story; from his humble beginnings in the 1930s to his rise in fame as force's favourite during the war and the horrible secret he's been made to keep.
Years later, his self-possessed but vulnerable namesake finds himself packed off to boarding school, far from his mother Frankie, dynamic actress and Principal Boy; his grandma Queenie, children's party entertainer extraordinaire; and his bed-ridden but redoubtable great-grandmother.
While the dummy lies dusty, silent and forgotten, his young counterpart sets out to learn about his dead grandfather's past as a world-famous ventriloquist, his magical powers and their family's curious history.
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[Stace] has a startling imaginative talent and an anarchic sense of humour, but, crucially, he has an ability to bind good ideas to an absorbing plot - Times Literary Supplement
Thoroughly satisfying - Independent
An absorbing tale with an original narrative twist - Daily Mail
More than a high flown yarn; it is also a well-nigh effortless portrait of alienation and sublimated affection... brimming with imagination, Wesley Stace has created as many scenes and characters as some writers would bring to a couple of novels - Daily Telegraph
An ingenious novel, full of affection for a vanished world - Daily Mail
Stace... has fashioned a hugely funny and immensely likeable novel that evokes a flamboyantly matriarchal world of greasepaint and spangles as vividly as it captures the relentless machismo of sodden playing fields and tuck-boxes - Guardian
A finely narrated and curiously moving tale - Historical Novels Review
Wesley Stace is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, the international bestseller Misfortune (2005) and By George (2007). Stace is also a musician who, under the name John Wesley Harding, has released 15 albums ranging from traditional folk to pop music. The Los Angeles Times hailed his most recent pop release, Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, as 'Bookshop Rock like no other... expertly tweaking the lyricist's game at every turn' while the Wall Street Journal praised the album's 'lyrics that dazzle without condescending'.