August 10, 2010
August 10, 2010
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
A.S. Byatt has crafted a landmark novel of Europe at the turn of the 20th century, centered on a children's book writer whose eerie fables and fairy tales reflect the dark secrets hidden in her family's history. In 1895, Olive Wellwood seems to be living an idyllic existence--she is married to a pillar of Victorian society, pregnant with her seventh child, and working diligently on her popular series of children's books. But Olive's artistic endeavors are filled with hints of sorrow and regret which gradually push towards the surface, and this pseudo-exposure has its own dark effects on her neglected children, resulting in a relentless cycle of almost masochistic anguish. These subliminal distress signals are broadcast more explicitly in the works of the Fludds, another family of artists in the Wellwoods' social circle, whose fate is intricately linked to the Wellwoods by chains of sex, pain and creativity. As global forces collide in the first World War, Byatt's vast menagerie of characters must chose how to participate in an event where the suffering is certain to be more overt than they are used to. The erudite Byatt has outdone herself with this historical epic, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2009 and selected as an Editor's Choice Book of the Year 2009 by Atlantic magazine.
- Genre: Fiction + Literature Genres, Fiction + Literature Themes, Juvenile Fiction
- Subgenre: Love + Relationships + Sex, Types of Characters, Family + Friendship, Literary, Peoples + Cultures, General
- Edition: Reprint
- Language: English
- Author: A. S. Byatt
- Online Item #: 12288825
- Store Item Number (DPCI): 059-04-3355
- ISBN: 9780307473066
- Item can be gift wrapped.
- Made in the USA or Imported