The Children's Book Paperback – 7 Jan 2010
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"Intricately worked and sumptuously inlaid novel...seethes and pulses with an entangled life, of the mind and the senses alike. Colour and sensation flood Byatt's writing...she is a master-potter, or magic-working puppeteer" (Boyd Tonkin Independent)
"Superlatively displays both enormous reach and tremendous grip...sizzling with ideas and alive with imaginative energy, too...this is the most stirring novel AS Byatt has written since Possession" (Sunday Times)
"It's success is as a novel of ideas, forcefully and often memorably expressed, while the story follows darkening fortunes into a chastened postwar world" (Helen Dunmore The Times)
"Compelling...strenuously inclusive and also tremendously enriching - an intricate tale, energetically fashioned from sturdy strands of material, by "a spinning fairy in the attic", an indefatigable storyteller" (Irish Times)
"Astonishing power and resonance" (Jane Shilling Sunday Telegraph)
"More than a novel, this is a historical primer, discursive, shimmering with colour and texture, containing stories within stories and giving walk-on parts to luminaries of the age... For fans of Byatt this is better than Possession. A truly great novel" (Daily Express)
"Light and lustrous, commanding and transporting, The Children's Book is superb" (Daily Mail)
"The Children's Book beats even its predecessors" (Julian Evans Prospect)
"The sort of high concept rarefied intellectual fiction we'd expect from, well, A S Byatt. Posession: the next generation" (Sophie Gee Financial Times)
"Beautiful, bracing and bold. Her handling of dialogue is unfussy, precise and rude. This is a moving book. Its words are beautifully chosen... AS Byatt is Gaudi and Christopher Wren rolled in to one" (Tom Adair Scotsman)
"Extraordinary rich book is superbly embedded in the thoughts and beliefs and feelings if the period - and indeed in its interior décor" (Caroline Moore Spectator)
"Magnificent loquacity...gripping and often deeply affecting" (Pamela Norris Literary Review)
"Byatt's novel combines meaty ideas with the breathless page-turning propulsion of an old-fashioned saga... Brimming with intelligence and sensuality, this is the perfect summer book" (Claire Allfree Metro)
"Heartfelt and acute" (Erica Wagner The Times)
"Dense and intense, highly decorated and richly populated...you wonder at her thirst for reading and knowledge and desire to communicate...[and] her prodigious appetite for storytelling...remarkable, peerless, and wilfully and delightfully and unapologetically intellectual, the kind of writer who makes you marvel at what she manages to put on the page" (Alan Taylor Herald)
By the author of the bestselling modern classic Possession, a marvellous, gripping, panoramic novel of family secrets, predators and innocents, war and peace, art and society.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is about the relationships between these people and others but it is just as much about the age they live in from 1895 to 1919. Historical personages flit into and out of the story. The main characters are inluenced by the morals and manners of the age they live in. The background is lush and decadent as the Victorian age gives way to the Edwardian. Social class is an issue and the Labour movement is gathering supporters.
The relationships between the characters are convoluted and nothing is what it seems. The arts and crafts they produce are rich and somehow redolent of decay. All are affected by the Great War and few come through it unscathed. The writing, as one might expect from this author is at once lush and austere. Characters are taken apart with a scalpel and their thoughts and feelings dissected for our entertainment. Descriptions are full of symbolism and many layered meanings. Conversations are cryptic and issues go unresolved and unmentioned.Read more ›
By the second half things began to pick up. We leave the older characters behind, which is a blessing since most of them were frankly odious - only Prosper Cain and Anselm Stern offering a counterbalance to the glut of conscienceless, philandering males. As the Victorian era gives way to the Edwardian, we move into a period of restless social change and emerging feminism that gives an added dynamism to the lives of the younger generation, and generally they acquit themselves with far more wisdom and integrity than their parents. Of course, you can see where it's all going to end - in the mud and trenches of the Great War - but this adds poignancy to their youthful idealism and their struggles to establish themselves in a rapidly changing world. History, as we know, is about to overtake them. And the inevitable denouement was indeed moving, with its rash of dreaded letters and longed-for reunions.
Byatt demonstrates many qualities of a great novelist. She is a consummate social historian, and a master of characterisation - you never fail to believe in her creations as real people.Read more ›
The book brings vividly to life the years between 1895 to the end of the Great War, which is an era I have had little sympathy with before now. The book is about so many things, following an unusually large numnber of characters, through an intricate maze of plot lines and relationships. It is perhaps this shear ambition that made the earlier parts of the book somehow hard to keep going with and to develop visually in the mind's eye.
Being an aging flower-child myself, trying to hang on to whatever threads of idealism life might deign to leave me with, I find I am ever more fascinated by how the radical impulse has manifested in other times, and I suppose that is a main theme of the book, if there is one. We follow a cast of characters that are focussed with more or less sympathy around a household which is connected to all the multifarious expressions of radicalism as it was in this still so innocent time.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellently written as one would expect of Byatt. The children's stories are good, but a bit intrusive.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I have to admit that,prior to happening upon THE CHILDREN'S BOOK,I had never heard of A.S.Byatt. When I bought it my very knowledgeable daughter said that she had tried some of Ms... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mr. K. O. Hodgson
Not a perfect book, with many years descriptive passages that did not interest me, but a wonderful book about parenting, self-indulgence and the EdwardIan erase. Read morePublished 4 months ago by S Dolan
Hard work. Some parts ok, mainly a wordy dirge. It was picked by my local bookclub so will continue to read it, but reminds me of doing 'O' level English lit. Read morePublished 5 months ago by malcolm1948
The actual storyline was good, but it felt like half the book was a historical account completely irrelevant to any of the characters.Published 7 months ago by Naomi Rankin
This is an exceptionally fine novel, far ahead in quality of a number of recent Booker prize winners. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Bluecashmere.
Worth reading if you have time for the 600 odd pages. The book was in good condition.Published 9 months ago by Dimercaprol