Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The Children's Book - A.S. Byatt

I loved this book. I wasn't sure at first, I didn't enjoy Possession at all, and it took a while to warm to this one. But once I did, oh boy! I'm not sure about the title, it doesn't give anything away, which is good, but at the same time, it's not something that adds enticement.
The story is rather epic, covering the late Victorian period upto and including WW1. It centres on several families, the Wellwoods, the Cains, the Fludds, the Warrens and their friends. Following the growing up of the children in these families, Olive and Humprey Wellwood's seven, their cousins, and friends as they try to work out what they want to be and who they are in the early years of the 20th Century. It's beautifully well written, delicious old-fashioned storytelling, with some poignant and tragic moments. Not to be read in one go, but slowly and savoured. It was nominated for last year's Booker prize, and it's a shame it lost. On my 'to read' list is the eventual winner Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, but I wonder if I'll enjoy that as much as I did this.

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