The Children’s Book by AS Byatt

by Surabhi Kaushik on July, 2009

in Books

Children's Book AS Byatt

The Children’s Book is a work of huge ambition that follows the lives of two generations of a constellation of families living in the Kent countryside at the turn of the 20th century. It is a portrait of childhood at the end of the Victorian era, when children were starting to be treated as adults, and when adults, though they talked more openly about sex, tended to retreat into childhood.

The novel centres around Olive Wellwood, a fairy tale writer, and her circle, which includes the brilliant, erratic craftsman Benedict Fludd and his apprentice Phillip Warren, a runaway from the poverty of the Potteries; Prosper Cain, the soldier who directs what will become the Victoria and Albert Museum; Olive’s brother-in-law Basil Wellwood, an officer of the Bank of England; and many others from every layer of society.

Olive is a fairy tale writer in the era of Peter Pan and Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, not long after Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She is torn between domesticity and the demands of her craft as a rival.

This novel is about parents and children, life’s most painful struggles and its richest pleasures this book is a consummate work of art.

Grab your copy and a comfortable chair don’t miss this must read book!

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