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VINE VOICEon 7 June 2010
Having read Trevor's collected short stories plus 'Felicia's Journey' and one other novel of his, the title of which escapes me, I greatly looked forward to tackling this. I wasn't disappointed. The author can boast an impressive trail of frightening characters across his work and the teenager Timothy Gedge is as chilling as any of them. What is so macabre about this story is that Gedge, though a prodigious blackmailer, sets his ransom at nothing more than a few props for an act in a local talent contest he intends to enter. His knowledge has been shamelessly gained by spying on the inhabitants of the small town in which he lives, knowledge which threatens to uproot the lives of everyone whose path he crosses. His cheeky, fruit gum-chewing persistence gives him credibility. Everyone has known someone outwardly resembling him, though his ability to bare the most unthinkable truths doesn't bear thinking about. I don't believe I've read anything better by Trevor.
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on 7 January 2004
I read this some time ago but it has resonated ever since. It follows a seemingly mundane existence in a typical sea side resort projected through the eyes of a curious young boy whose pointed questions open up long buried secrets.
Trevor was a sculpture before becoming a writer and this book is a masterclass in delicately sculpted fine prose. It won a much deserved Whitbread prize in 76. I cannot recommend this book enough. If you read it in the 70¡¯s read it again.
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on 12 October 2011
This book reminded me of A Girl in the Head by J.G Farrell, another Anglo-Irish writer, and to a lesser extent Jonathan Raben's Foreign Land, both of which unveil the sordid underbelly of life in a small coastal town in southern England.

The main character is a creepy 15-year-old boy who seems to know everyone's secrets - or invents such convincing ones that they become almost real - and sets out to blackmail the adults and children alike in order to get what he wants.

What he wants are only some simple props for an act he intends making at a talent contest, such as a tin bath, a man's suit and a wedding dress. He eventually gets what he wants but at an emotional cost that his victims will never be able to pay.

Someone like Farrell would probably have turned the book into a black comedy but Trevor takes more of a Lord of the Flies approach to children and what they can get up to if left on their own.

It is a good read with a strong narrative and Trevor has created some memorable characters like the boy, Timothy Gedge, the "Commander" who gets him drunk and the clergyman's wife who has to cope with her private grief while ministering to the derelicts who turn up at the vicarage door demanding help.

However, he does not convincingly portray the relationship between Gedge and the 12-year-old boy and girl he harries. Nor does he do a good job of explaining the relationship between the boy and girl, whose parents have just married.

Furthermore, the idea that the Commander has been a secret homosexual all his life and his marriage of 36 years has not been consummated is a little difficult to accept.
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on 19 May 2012
William Trevor is a great writer and I reckon this is one of his best books. The main character makes you feel on edge, wondering what will happen. The story is crafted very well; no loose ends are left hanging at the end.
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on 28 November 2011
The novel follows an awkward teenager Timothy Gedge around Dynmouth; a typical English seaside town. Timothy has convinced himself he is destined to become a famous comedian and in order to do so he should start by performing in his local Easter talent show. As he proceeds with his plans Timothy is confronted by obstacles that threaten to derail his dream. In response to these setbacks he becomes more and more delusional and sinister to the point of being evil. He terrorises numerous residents of the town and does his best to hurt people and mess up their lives.

This is just the kind of book I love and I enjoyed reading it immensely. A community is striped bare as Timothy does his rounds, threatening young children with a few words and blackmailing adults. The tension builds up throughout the book (which is less than 200 pages) to its conclusion where the community of adults are forced to ask themselves; did we create this monster?

The novel deals with plenty of other issues such as the effect on society when children are forced to bring themselves up with absent parents and the obsession with becoming a celebrity. These issues give the book depth and I found myself speculating on them, the book even hints that perhaps there is a place for people like Timothy in this world.

I loved this book (and not just for the pretty cover) a dark and chilling tale which will make you think.
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This book is masterly written by an amazing descriptive writer. William Trevor has weaved in many personal lives of a small seaside town that have all been affected by a boy called Timothy Gedge, who changes their lives in many unexpected areas. This book is thought provoking and had me laughing out loud, cringing inside and horrified. I was left to marvel at the way William Trevor writes; with a few words he leaves you with so many multilayered thoughts - this book is top draw writing.
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on 13 May 2015
The Children of Dying Mouth, I presume, expressing the inarticulatelessness of Irish Protestants growing up in Ireland- their actual inability to speak or feel at home in the Republic of Ireland- and (maybe) their natural affinity to England- their not being of one country- and the sadness of growing up in a population you are not at one with.
Tell me about it!
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on 17 June 2013
Loved this book. Set in the West Country and as I live in Devon I thought I knew where scenes from the book took place. Loved it.
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on 10 July 2012
Having read another title in the Penguin Decades series,I was left curiose about the other titles they were plugging with those charming jackets designed by Zandra Rhodes.
All I can say is I am glad l did. The Children Of Dynmouth is a remarkable story indeed.It revolves around a neglected young boy who is preoccupied with obtaining props for a cringe worthy act he plans to peform at the annual talent contest in Dynmouth. Along the way we see him blackmailing and intimidating those who's assistance he needs,all to fulfill his fleeting dream of winning the talent show.
But l am just scratching the surface.Here we have a tale full of fascinating characters,tantalising sub plots and prose brimming with ugly truths.
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on 27 December 2011
brilliant book just so clever but quite disturbing as well - looking into the psychology of a misfit boy in a small town, quite amusing
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