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The Children's Bookby A.S. Byatt
Synopses & Reviews
for the Man Booker Prize
A spellbinding novel, at once sweeping and intimate, from the Booker Prize–winning author of Possession, that 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.
When Olive Wellwood’s oldest son discovers a runaway named Philip sketching in the basement of the new Victoria and Albert Museum—a talented working-class boy who could be a character out of one of Olive’s magical tales—she takes him into the storybook world of her family and friends.
But the joyful bacchanals Olive hosts at her rambling country house—and the separate, private books she writes for each of her seven children—conceal more treachery and darkness than Philip has ever imagined. As these lives—of adults and children alike—unfold, lies are revealed, hearts are broken, and the damaging truth about the Wellwoods slowly emerges. But their personal struggles, their hidden desires, will soon be eclipsed by far greater forces, as the tides turn across Europe and a golden era comes to an end.
Taking us from the cliff-lined shores of England to Paris, Munich, and the trenches of the Somme, The Children’s Book is a deeply affecting story of a singular family, played out against the great, rippling tides of the day. It is a masterly literary achievement by one of our most essential writers.
A tale spanning from the Victorian era through World War I finds famous children's book author Olive Wellwood taking in a runaway who reminds her of her own characters and exposing the boy to dark truths about her family's summer bacchanals at their rambling country house. By the Booker Prize-winning author of Possession.
From the Booker Prize-winning, bestselling author of Possession a deeply affecting story of a singular family.
When children's book author OliveWellwood's oldest son discovers a runaway named Philip sketching in the basement of a museum, she takes him into the storybook world of her family and friends. But the joyful bacchanals Olive hosts at herrambling country house--and the separate, private books she writes for each of her seven children--conceal more treachery and darkness than Philip has ever imagined. The Wellwoods' personalstruggles and hidden desires unravel against a breathtaking backdrop of the cliff-lined shores of England to Paris, Munich, and the trenches of the Somme, as the Edwardian period dissolves into World War I andEurope's golden era comes to an end.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
\A. S. Byatt is the author of numerous novels, including the quartet The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman; The Biographer’s Tale; and Possession, which was awarded the Booker Prize. She has also written two novellas, published together as Angels & Insects; five collections of shorter works, including The Matisse Stories and Little Black Book of Stories; and several works of nonfiction. A distinguished critic as well as a novelist, she lives in London.
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