A coming of age story of a northern Irish boy getting out from under the thumb of mother, church, and country. Set in Belfast in the late sixties, Bernard MacLaverty's new novel takes us into Martin Brennan's last semester of high school, when he finds old friendships tested and is forced to face the unknown. Before he can become an adult, Martin must unravel the sacred and contradictory mysteries of religion, science, and sex; he must learn the value of friendship; but most of all he must pass his exams at any cost. Celebrating the desire to speak and the need to say nothing, The Anatomy School moves from the enforced silence of Martin's Catholic school retreat, through the hilarious tea and biscuits repartee of his eccentric elders, to the awkward wit and loose profanity of his two friends the charismatic Kavanagh and the subversive Blaise Foley. With characteristic 'wise humor' (Publishers Weekly), MacLaverty 'moves beyond the cloistered realm of school to capture the rhythms and pressures of provincial life, as well as Martin's desire to overcome them.' (Denver Post). This absorbing, often funny novel 'turns high anxieties and pain into well wrought fiction. MacLaverty has a wider vision, greater depth and technical craft than J. D. Salinger, a more subtle style than William Golding and a moral imagination to match that of James Joyce' ( Toronto Globe and Mail). Reading group guide included.