Four stars for the writing. I love books written in dialect and this one really comes alive. Probably make a fantastic radio play. The narrator also comes alive and while you see clearly the people around him, by the end you feel how deeply he is cut off from from all other human beings. They are part of the scenery for him, or less than the scenery. He cares for animals and people but without fully understanding the expectations between people that underpin family ties and a wider society. This is sufficient for working on the farm, but not for normal relationships with people.
I finished the book feeling a bit queasy and reluctant to give it 4 stars and I am still exploring just why. I felt the author was colluding with the verdict of many in the book that he was 'a bad one' and that nothing could have been done, which does not fit my own philosophy. However I decided that the author is telling it like it is - and I can read it as a person not put together right, or broken - rather than evil. There is also a dark North Eastern english element simmering in the background. Unforgiving. I shall not want to re-read this book, but while I was reading it was very compelling and I'm glad I did, despite it being so uncomfortable once the half way mark had been passed and you realise there is no salvation.
Comic it is not. Don't know how anyone could use that word with this book.