Boy on the WireBoy on the Wire


Boy on the Wire was published in July 2015 in South Africa and August 2015 in the UK.


In 1983 Paul Hyde, aged ten, dies falling from a ledge in the mountains of the Karoo. His older brother Peter, who falls at the same time, survives but loses all memory of the event. The youngest brother, John, is the only witness.

Many years later, John is living in London. He and his wife Rachel, who knows nothing of the tragedy of his past and nothing of his family, make plans to have children of their own. Their life together is disrupted when Peter arrives in London and claims his memory is returning. Pulled back in spite of himself, John returns to South Africa and the home he grew up in.

His return makes him question his recollection of the tragedy. Can we ever be certain of events that happened that far in the past, certain we have not completely changed their meaning and our part in them?


This book has wiped the floor with me! Intense, powerful & deeply unsettling. (Jane Rusbridge)

Masterful (Joseph O'Connor)

As a diary of a breakdown and a lucid examination of the good and bad sides of family communication this is lyrical and chilling and very, very real. (

Boy on the Wire … might be one of the most important literary works to come from the pen of a South African author … in a number of years. (Jennifer Crocker, Cape Times)

Amazon Book of the month (one of three novels) in August 2015

Intense, powerful, and deeply unsettling...I really enjoyed every page. (ireadnovels)

The prose is simple: at times visceral and at others impersonal. Like a maelstrom this novel drew me in, and gripped me in its chilling vortex. It is a devastating story about family, loss, despair and redemption that keeps you in its clutches. (Andrea van Wyk, Rant and Rave Reviews)

One of our greats in the making: Alastair Bruce’s Boy on the Wire (Karina M Szczurek, Karina Magdalena)

The novel’s hold over us is sustained beyond our reading of it as we are left in a state of deep thought, even left uncomfortable, unsettled, as we question our memory, our mind, and, ultimately, ourselves. (Claire Charalambous, Dundee University Review of the Arts)

Shortlisted for the 2016 Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction prize

Reviews and interviews

Cape Times

Classic FM interview

Daily Mail

I Read Novels

Rant and Rave Reviews

An extract on Bookanista

Irish Times: What the writers have been reading

Karina Magdalena

Dundee University Review of the Arts

Alastair Bruce talks about the genesis of Boy on the Wire