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The Children's Book - A.S. Byatt

Posted: July 17th, 2010, 9:12 pm
by bohonato
Generally speaking, I don't usually buy a lot of contemporary literature for myself, but my brother gave me this book last summer for my birthday. I just got around to reading it this past spring. The author, A.S. Byatt, is a London based writer and critic, and The Children's Book, 2009, absolutely deserves to be called a literary achievement.

As the jacket states, it "spans the Victorian era through the World War I years, and centers around a famous children's book author and the passions, betrayals, and secrets that tear apart the people she loves."

The novel, almost 700 pages in length, chronicles in detail not only the several decades beginning in the 1890s that culminate in the end of the Old World and the supposed war to end all wars that mercilessly propelled the world into the modern era, but also the lives of diverse characters, young and old. The Children's Book reveals a world of innoncence, hope, suicide, women's emancipation, exploitation, class, homosexuality, love, anarchism, socialism, lies, fairy tales, myths, sexual liberation, art and creation, war and destruction, fear, abuse, dispair, cruelty, and love for Shakespeare. The novel simultaneously describes the self-determination of the individual and the powerlessness of individuals against forces larger than themselves.

It is a work that gives an intimate portrayal of a vast cast of intertwined characters through decades that change them and the world. It is a work that forces the reader to think and that forces the reader to feel.

All that I can say to end this is that I am, without a doubt, going to keep this work around and return to it in the future.

Posted: July 22nd, 2010, 12:10 pm
by still.trucking
Sounds really good. I wish I could read. I mean my attention span is shot. Takes me weeks to finish a short story even.