Otto Iking is an outsider, at home as well as at the boarding school for the blind. But he is also an observer. Otto looks at the world around him with an unpitying sense of humour. He observes the other pupils he, too, watches the carers and teachers, who aim to prepare pupils for the real world which ‘can be very cruel’.He discovers his feelings for Sonia, a fellow pupil, and he makes plans for a rescue mission to liberate hostages in the notorious Moluccan hijacking case in Bovensmilde.But most of all, he wants to escape from the institution for the blind to a school for sighted children. Otto is not to be pitied. He can picture a future working for the radio.The novel paints a frank picture of the 1970s, when ‘everything had to be tried’. The Institute is a beautifully written boarding school novel, which is both hilarious and moving, about a boy who is searching for his identity and a sense of security.In short, it’s about a boy with remarkable powers of observation.
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