You are cooking them, aren't you ? — 6 years ago
Frank Cauldhame is sixteen yeras old and hasn’t quite had what you’d call a typical upbringing. In fact, he doesn’t officially exist : Frank was never registered, has no birth certificate, no passport and no national insurance number. The upside is that, as a result, he’s never had to attend school – though he was educated at home by his father. (Angus, Frank’s father, did occasionally embellish parts of the curriculem – for example, Frank believed for a time that there was a character called Fellatio in “Hamlet”). Angus is a scientist : the discipline is never clearly identified, though he does appear to be involved in the biomedical sector. These connections have also apparently allowed Angus to provide for Frank’s medical needs – despite his son’s official non-existance. (These needs were increased at an early age, following a devastating encounter with a dog). Angus’ study is strcitly off-limits to Frank and is permanently locked – though Frank is determined to make it inside someday.
The pair are pretty comfortable, whatever it is Angus does for a living. They live on a small island, just off the coast of Portneil in Scotland. Frank never knew his mother, Angus’ second wife, as she left shortly after he was born. (Apparently, she didn’t care much for children). It’s probably lucky for her that she didn’t stick around : Frank has turned into a very strange kid whose values and beliefs don’t really overlap with those held by ‘normal’ society. He’s very fond of general destruction and killing – so far, he’s dispatched two cousins, one brother and various animals. (He’s yet to be caught out). He is also very inventive and has essentially created his own belief system – involving a Wasp Factory, some Sacrifice Poles and the Bunker (a pillbox on the beach, a relic from the Second World War). He also has his own name for various parts of the island, depending on what he’s done there – for example, the Snake Park, Black Destroyer Hill and the Bomb Circle.
The events of “The Wasp Factory” take place over a couple of days – beginning with the news that Eric, Frank’s half-brother, has escaped form hospital. (Eric was committed several years earlier, for setting dogs on fire). The book sees Frank looking back over hsi life, in the build-up to Eric’s expected return. This isn’t something that causes Frank any great amount of stress, despite the fact that Eric clearly still isn’t firing on all thrusters. (Frank’s is more than a match for his brother : the worrying this is that he sees himself as being the “somebody sane who still likes” Eric.) Unsurprisingly, the book can be a little gruesome at times and it isn’t one I’d recommend if you’re feeling a little queasy. However, if you’re feeling up to a challenge, it’s certainly well worth reading !