'The Child's Child' is saved from mediocrity by the brilliant piece of storytelling that Vine delivers for the majority of the book. It's this inner story - a book within a book - that tells of what it was like to bear a child out of wedlock in Britain in the late 1920s, and what it was like to be a homosexual - that rivets the reader. As both social history and an an unfolding drama it is superbly done.
But bookending this story is a wraparound story set in 2011 - which contains reference to the same themes - and this just doesn't work. The characters are curiously unlikeable and unbelievable - and Vine writes this part of the book in a very odd, clanky style that is at odds with the pace and engagement she achieves with the section set in earlier times.
Whilst not really a crime novel in the traditional sense of the word, Vine has always explored the darker side of human nature in her books, and this one is no exception. Parts of the story set in the blinkered, judgemental world of Britain in the early-mid twentieth century have a ring of Hardy about it, with its sense of unremitting bleakness and closed down options for those unfortunate enough to be on the wrong side of what society considered respectable and normal.
This one seems to have divided Amazon reviewers, and I too wasn't expecting much after the opening couple of chapters, which were very hard going and disappointing. But, the book blossoms into a powerful and quite disturbing story, of what alienation and judgement can bring upon people, and for that alone it deserves to be read as a powerful and well-constructed piece of writing. Certainly thought-provoking.
2 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?