[Read] ➲ The Children's Book Author A.S. Byatt – Pdfr25.co

  • Hardcover
  • 675 pages
  • The Children's Book
  • A.S. Byatt
  • English
  • 08 January 2017
  • 9780307272096

10 thoughts on “The Children's Book

  1. says:

    BRILLIANT, BUTBoth brilliant and flawed, this book is an extraordinary achievement that doesn t always work, but is nevertheless a riveting, educational and inspirational read It was so beautiful and utterly engrossing, that I loved it despite its faults, and found it filling my thoughts and dreams for a considerable time after I finished it And it visits me still.It describes the creative process principally writing, puppetry and pottery in gloriously vivid detail, as it relates to some Edwardian families, but at other times reads like a history text book THEMESThe book is divided into four sections Beginnings, The Golden Age, The Silver Age and The Age of Lead , but I find it helpful to consider its main themes HUGE CASTDescribing events in the interwoven and varied lives of a huge cast of 30 main characters, over than 20 years Their individual importance waxes and wanes as the story progresses, but all are significant, though a few are not as well developed as others Because they are so intertwined, it all feels rather claustrophobic and incestuous as the book progresses HISTORICAL CONTEXTThere is detailed historical context of arts and politics at the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries Although those such as Rupert Brooke and the VA Museum are well known and the Wellwoods are clearly Byatt s invention, a reader is not always sure what is fact and what is fiction, so you have to learn to let go, which is odd in the sections that focus on Fabians, artists of various kinds, theosophists, suffragettes, museums etc in general ART AND CRAFTIt is infused with a tangible love of the decorative arts, via the characters who create objects and the interests of the museum curator the initial inspiration, evolution of that idea and the process of using it to create something The detail is, at times, breathtaking you can almost feel the wet clay slip beneath your fingers, like Philip, who thought with his fingers and his eyes together The visceral power of art, even on other artists, is observed on seeing a Rodin, Philip s first instinct was to turn and run This was too much It was so strong that it would destroy him Yet when several of them looked at the same sculpture, none of them saw the same thing as the others For a writer, thoughts had to stay in the head taking on an independent life, becoming solid objects, to be negotiated SECRETSNot everything is as it first seems even libertines strive to keep up appearances to some extent There are secrets that emerge, some shocking than others and a couple that stretch credulity a little Discovery sometimes has unexpectedly subtle results, she had been changed and she did not know how , minding the lie than the fact itself because those who are lied to feel diminished , whilst also realising that knowing it gave her power Sometimes people don t want to know the truth and if so, does that vindicate the wrong that is hidden by a lie Grey, invisible cats had crept from their bags and were dancing and spitting on stair corners PULLED TWO WAYSThis is the aspect that speaks most strongly to me In so many aspects of my life, throughout my life, I am pulled between two worlds, two choices, two realities Sometimes I impulsively pick one, whereas at other times, I agonise over the decision, trying to avoid making one at all.Many characters are torn between two worlds academia or marriage gay or straight wealth versus anarchy being old or young class barriers fact and fantasy an unreal world which seemed real than the real world multiple partners etc The women at Newnham College, Cambridge felt themselves to be both demure and dangerous, determined and impeded They found their situation both frustrating and wildly comic THE POWER OF STORIESThe power of story telling is the most fundamental theme and yet Byatt s own storytelling is the main weakness in this book Olive Wellwood is a published children s author who writes an endless story book for each of her children, but you increasingly wonder whether the stories reflect or mould the children s characters Certainly they permeate the children s lives, The magic persisted because it was hidden, because it was a shared secret and parts of these stories are scattered around the book For some characters, stories even hold the power of life and death BRILLIANT, BUTThese multiple aspects cause problems the narrative style varies widely and at times there is too much catching up to do whether that be the lives of Byatt s characters or historical background When she is rattling off different people s thoughts in quick succession, especially when using reported speech, you have to read carefully to be sure of who is thinking what and at other times it is just a disjointed stream of facts Other parts are journalistic and then there are the fairy stories There is even some wry humour, such as the character who realised he was able to be an anarchist because he was rich and later decided he could help the poor better by studying them than by getting to know them.Nevertheless, there is so much that is brilliant in this book As well as insights into creativity, Byatt is especially good at portraying the inner thoughts and outward awkwardness of children of all ages The young desired to be free of the adults and at the same time were prepared to resent any hint that the adults might desire to be free of them PARALLELSThe first two sections of Hollinghurst s The Stranger s Child has many echoes of this See my review HERE.Byatt is a novelist who loves the academic approach to biography, applied to fiction and semi fiction This passion is reflected in all four of her novels I ve now read, with varying degrees of success I ve also read some short stories The Children s Book, 4 This book.Possession, 3 See my review HERE.The Biographer s Tale, 2 See my very old review HERE.Even her myth based Ragnarok, 4 , is related, as it s interwoven with the life of a child who is largely her See my review HERE.

  2. says:

    I looked forward to read this book I was ready for a sweeping saga about the turbulent years between the closing of the Victorian age and the dawn of the Edwardian, with all its political, artistic and social ferment, and its culmination in the war to end all wars Who can better chronicle these years than Byatt, with her deep knowledge of the period and her knack for creating affecting, memorable characters like Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel LaMotte in Possession A Romance Her cast of characters here is vast, representing nearly the full spectrum of English society at the end of the 19th century There are, among others, Fabians, potters, suffragettes, Theosophists, working class runaways, a city banker, a museum director, a Russian anarchist and a German puppet master There are literally dozens of characters that we have to keep track of, and it could be quite a challenge to remember who is who and what their political philosophical views are It doesn t help at all that each character necessarily gets a short shrift, due to having to share the stage with so many others This constant shifting of focus means that virtually none of the characters stories could be sufficiently explored, and that the ending is robbed of a much needed poignancy.We can see how she had researched the era extensively, down to its minutiae, and imbibed the spirit of the age And it is all there on the pages historical voice overs that read as if they had been pasted over from lecture notes or school textbooks But instead of serving as a rich, multi layered background to the story, the massive amount of data often overwhelms it, drowning the personal dramas with an intrusive recitation of dates and facts.By the middle of the book, as the years and historical personal events pile up, Byatt seems to lose control of the narrative, resulting in something that reads like random updates from half remembered Facebook buddies Charles Karl still secretly an anarchist and but am going to study at the London School of Economics anyway.Tom still aimless.Julian still gay.Wolfgang and Leon from Germany are here for summer camp and some skinny dipping.A.S Byatt the Boer War is still going on.You get the idea She seems to be very determined to update us on what everyone is doing, in strict chronological order, resulting in some clunky passages that seem to have been lifted directly from her character notes, such as It was Hedda who, between 1903 and 1907, became and obsessed with suffrage, with opposition, with action, with revolt She followed eagerly, the campaign of the militants, as they broke glass and set bombs, were imprisoned, and later took to hunger striking and suffered forcible feeding 1909 This is in contrast to wonderful descriptive passages elsewhere in the book In fact, the quality of the writing is very uneven, ranging from the aforementioned clumsiness to polished pieces that we have come to expect from a writer of Byatt s caliber I m convinced that there is a much slenderer, but much better novel or two inside this loose, baggy monster of a book What it desperately needs is a disciplined editor who can prune the unwieldy narrative and provide a better focus on the characters and issues.

  3. says:

    I savored this novel every evening for the 2 months or so that I chipped away at its formidable length A.S Byatt has written a whopping, inimitable masterpiece of a heavy handed Victorian England succumbing to the blithe, jaunty Edwardian era which in turn gives way to the disillusionment and terror of trench warfare and World War I Byatt, so unapologetically erudite, gives us a labyrinthine novel that is both devastating and whimsical It s full of complexity and contradictions, stories within stories, and an abundance of detail, both historical and literary, so that people and objects d art almost become palpable Byatt can be a bit pedantic at times, and in this work she is often overly descriptive and uses authorial elucidation too much, so that it seems she s doing our research work for us, especially with regard to historical background Generally, though, her lavish descriptions and exposition work because we re invited, through her garrulity, to live in this world she has built and conjure it according to her exact instructions Moreover, when she interrupts her narrative fervor it is always exposition concerning historical and social mileposts or facts about the arts and crafts movement, art noveau and pottery It s pardonable, perhaps appropriate, because so much of the novel centers around modernization the shift in art and politics away from Victorian values to modernist art and liberal politics There are so many beautiful sentences in The Children s Book and the narrative brims with flesh and blood characters and ideas one can mull over and over, that she than makes up for any shortcomings Suffice it to say that, in my humble opinion, she has created nothing less than an Edwardian epic As in Possession, Byatt fully displays her considerable academic talents In this work, she writes pastiches of World War I poems and victorian children s tales The novel is so brilliantly infused with fairy tales and children s literature ranging from Perrault and the Brothers Grimm and ETA Hoffman to J.M Barrie, Rudyard Kipling, and Kenneth Grahame that I m still, weeks after finishing, working out the intertextuality Fairy stories, allusions, and sinister tales of children simply inundate the reader Through the German marionette master, Anselm Stern, Byatt alludes to the darker force of fairy stories, and art in general, a force that will eventually lead to the death of one of the characters It is also through Stern and his family that Byatt presents German English relations on the eve of WWI and delves into the avante garde German art and political scene At the heart of the novel are five families and a cast of dozens, tied together in various ways blood, art, friendship, politics Byatt traces their lives and entanglements through than twenty years and several locales, evoking the effervescence of the 1900 Paris World s Fair, the haunting loneliness of Romney Marsh and Dungeness, the bustle of London, the subversive edges of Bavaria, and finally, the killing fields of Belgium Vivacious and attractive Olive Wellwood, a children s author and mother of seven modeled after E Nesbitt remember Five Children and It , is at first the central focus of the work, but Byatt regularly shifts between the families and deftly illuminates the lives of both parents and children Olive and her husband Humphrey Wellwood are socially progressive Fabians, intellectuals, writers, and proponents not quite agitators for social justice,and through them Byatt portrays the complexities of marriage, sexuality, what it means to be a father and what constitutes motherhood The Wellwoods are also a vehicle for the author to explore the dissonance between creativity and family life, the destructive toll of creativity and art, as well as the melding of the political with the personal Byatt fleshes out the eldest Wellwood children, the Peter Pan like Tom who never wants to grow up serious, tenacious Dorothy and violent suffragette Hedda, while glossing over the rest of the brood Olive gives each child a fairy story of his her own that is obviously an allegory for the child s life As a foil for Olive and Humphrey s exuberant family, Byatt gives us Humphrey s brother and sister in law the London Wellwoods Basil, a banker and Katharina,a wealthy German heiress, along with their children Charles Karl and Griselda Basil and Katharina are everything Olive and Humphrey are not concerned with social conventions, conservative, wealthy, and part of the old Victorian establishment Charles and Griselda, though, rebel against their parents ideals and dabble in feminism, anarchy, and socialism Through Charles Karl, especially, Byatt develops a theme dealing with hidden identities, masked identities and transformation, as Charles becomes the anarchist Karl There is the disturbing and tragic Fludd family, with their laudnum addicted, vacuous mother and in famously bizarre, brilliant, and wanton sculptor father who damages his daughters, Pomona and Imogen, in countless cruel ways Geraint, the oldest sibling of the family, manages to escape the marshes and dilapidated Fludd home, entrenching himself in the London world of finance Patriarch and artist Benedict, like Olive Wellwood, embodies the dangerous self absorption and self destruction art can engender His brand of fatherhood squarely aligns him with Bluebeard or the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, but throughout the novel Humphrey, Prosper Cain, and other male characters will, to varying degrees, echo this characterization.In juxtaposition to Benedict Fludd is Major Prosper Caine, a curator at the South Kensington Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and an expert in the decorative arts, who befriends the Wellwoods and Fludds He is the embodiment of Victorian chivalry and philanthropy, and it is his charitable actions that often advance the plot Seemingly the deus ex machina of the story, he is perhaps a bit contrived Prosper s daughter and son become part of the cast of children that fill the novel, as readers watch them all move from the buoyant naivete of childhood into hapless adulthood One of the best threads in this novel involves Philip Warren and eventually his sister, Elsie , apprentice and heir to Benedict Fludd, and an escapee from poverty and the lead filled air of the potteries Although the Victorians invented the concept of childhood, the notion that children were developmentally different from adults and should be allowed to play, explore, roam about and speak freely applied only to middle and upper class children In The Children s Book, Philip and Elsie and Olive and Violet, by means of flashbacks are the only glimpse readers get of what childhood is like for impoverished Victorian children In a notable and poignant opening scene, Cain s son Julian and Olive s son Tom catch Philip in the basement of the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he has been sleeping for weeks with a stack of expertly rendered drawings of the museum holdings Eventually, upon discovering Philip s unparalleled talent with pottery, Olive and Major Cain install him with the Fludd family, where he promptly makes improvements in Benedict s pottery studio, working his way up to master craftsmen and artist Philip s sister Elsie eventually runs away from the potteries and joins him at the Fludd s home, and becomes a focus of Byatt s narrative primarily due to her relationship with Herbert Methley, modelled on, it seems, the promiscuous Mr H.G Wells a lubricious libertine who has a knack for impregnating young women Elsie s redemption comes in the form of her very own fairy godmothers, three women from around the marshes who help her become an independent Edwardian New Woman in the vein of Ibsen or G.B Shaw.And so the story goes And goes All the way to Belgium and the machine guns and trenches and mass casualties of World War I Our Edwardian summer is over the children have been sacrificed, marching to war for the fairy tale ideals of honor, country, duty, and glory.

  4. says:

    Disappointment beaten up by Byatt s wooden prose, after which she vomited her semi digested research over me Apart from that it is a great book Admittedly I was disappointed because I had this idea that Byatt was a good and accomplished novelist Had I believed that this was the author s first novel I might have been excited by its promise and ambition, fooling myself that future books with judicious rewriting and hard pruning would be good literature Ahhhggrh Reading this book I was struck somewhere round about half way through that this was a translation into English of Ragtime Since some of you may protest that Ragtime was written in English, perhaps it is better to say that this is a translation into England Ragtime ends with the invention of Hollywood, The Children s Book with the aftermath of World War One, and naturally given its translation into an English setting there is institutionalised sexual abuse perpetrated on children by children, and male homosexuality In addition to both books interest in creativity, the relationships between adults and children, politics, changing ideas about childhood in particular and society in general due both to the political environment and the appearance of Freud, new technologies to some extent , and most importantly arguably Heinrich von Kleist.Michael Kohlhaas is to Ragtime what On a Theatre of Marionettes is to The Children s Book Here I am on, to write in terms of this book s images, a shingle shore buffeted by the tide because while I ve read the former, I haven t the latter, however the references to it in the text are explicit, and I think the cited argument of the imagined superiority of marionettes over actors is replicated in the exploitative relationship of two creative characters in the book Olive Wellwood and Benedict Fludd to their children In which case Byatt takes a critical stance to Kleist rather than simply retelling his story as Doctorow does with Kohlhaas in Ragtime.Had Byatt restricted her story to Wellwood and Fludd and their children, then this would have given the novel a focus, however the effect is diluted because not only we are repeatedly presented with damaged adults whose children are obliged to be preternaturally wise or who are themselves damaged, but also those children don t seem to be different to those of the not visibly damaged adults We re in the world of Philip Larkin to be a parent is inherently damaging and to be a child is to be inherently damaged.You may well agree with this However I don t see how this argument is advanced by setting the novel over the period of the 1890s to 1919 or so One could put that idea over to the reader without needing thirty years in three hundred plus pages.Having said that Byatt s presentation of those relationship was in places poignant and so a strong point of the book.Byatt says in explanation of the setting People talked, thought, earnestly frivolously, about sex At the same time they showed a paradoxical propensity to retreat into childhood, to read write adventure stories, tales about furry animals, dramas about pre pubertal children p300 Well, having read Dostovevsky at an impressionable age I don t think there is anything unusual about the extremes being close together An over interest in sex and therefore an over emphasis on the distinctiveness of supposedly innocent childhood seem natural bedfellows literally so for Benedict Fludd and his unfortunate daughters I did have a sense that Byatt could have written a non fiction account of the period, and a feeling that this would have been better and interesting than her Olive Wellwood who is and is not Edith Nesbit, presumably with bits of Kenneth Grahame thrown in.Perhaps the choice of setting was determined by the First World War, an attempt to add auto poignancy since most British readers, brought up in the civil religion of the sacrificial patriotism of Remembrance Sunday, will already have a poppy red picture of the Great War And indeed when reading the midsummer party scene early in the book and the children are asked what they d like to be when they had grown up I was already thinking dead on the western front many readers will be carrying over their own conception of inevitable tragedy into a story with this setting, an author doesn t have to do much, if anything, to evoke it.Having done this, Byatt throws it away The characters who die in the war are pretty much nothings in narrative terms, children who were barely mentioned Those who were mentioned, and who I had a rough conception of as individuals view spoiler Dorothy, Charles, Philip hide spoiler

  5. says:

    Reading The Children s Book for the second time has solidified its place as one of my all time favorite books Historical fiction when written well is one of my favorite genres Here Byatt has used her characters, settings and action to bring history in all its parts to life, supplementing with occasional narratives on history and the arts We readers encounter the family, the arts in many forms, philosophy and religion, politics, education, women s rights and gender politics, everything it seems in the years leading up to World War I These were tumultuous years of societal change in England and Europe, generational change that Byatt shows through the development of her novel.Perhaps I will read this again someday for a third time and savor the writing again, the evocative descriptions of pots being created or the sea roiling off the marshes I do recommend this novel strongly to readers who are interested in spending time with these people and their stories They can t be hurried 5 Review written October, 2010 First read 9 3 2010 to 10 04 2010 This is a portrait of turn of the century Britain and, to a lesser extent, the continent, through the eyes of several families involved in the arts and crafts movement, finance, and others on their periphery It follows the lives of 2 generations up to and through the disaster of World War I, with it s devastating loss of life We see the suffragist movement, changes in philosophies and economics, developments in the arts, and turmoil in various families The turmoil of the time is actually written in some of these families I found that this book takes time for digesting all that takes place and all the history and facts that are presented But I also liked it for that reason.

  6. says:

    Three days after finishing the audiobook version of this novel, I m still partly in the detailed and intricate world Byatt created I didn t want the book to end and I miss the characters A saga about the lives of its inter related characters between 1895 and 1919, the novel concerns itself with the history of England and to a lesser extent Germany during that period It deals with subjects including Fabian socialism, the Arts and Crafts movement, neo paganism, the anarchist movement, education, women s suffrage, writing for children, puppetry and pottery It s also concerned with parent child and sibling relationships, sexuality, truth, trust, deceit, betrayal and hypocrisy The work is hugely ambitious a monster of book filled to bursting point with detail Clothing, meals, parties, modes of transport and works of art are minutely described Historical characters share the stage with fictional ones an aging Oscar Wilde is seen at the Paris Exhibition in 1900, Rupert Brooke attends Fabian summer camp, the characters go to an early performance of JM Barrie s Peter Pan, Marie Stopes is met when she is studying in Germany Byatt painstakingly recreates the late Victorian and the Edwardian period as she explores the lives of a small segment of the population artists, free thinkers and intellectuals I might have enjoyed the work less if I had known about the time period in which it s set and the subjects with which it deals As it is, I knew virtually nothing and learned a great deal Listening to the novel felt like taking an immersion course in the social history of the period leading up to and including World War I However, as interesting as I found the world of the novel, the wealth of detail is also its major weakness At times it felt like Byatt had dumped the entire contents of her filing cabinet into the book it was as if she couldn t bear to leave out a single detail, no matter how insignificant to the narrative This makes the work somewhat unwieldy and overblown On the other hand, it also makes it closer to the style of a Victorian novel, which I assume is what Byatt was aiming to achieve The audiobook was beautifully narrated by Nicolette McKenzie, who found the perfect voice for each of the characters This could not have been easy to do, given the large cast of characters and the fact that a significant number of them are much the same age I was very glad that I listened to rather than read this book The narration really brought the characters alive I ve been undecided whether to give the book 4 or 5 stars The fact that I didn t want it to end would generally put a book into the amazing category However, I m also aware that it s a flawed work, which could have been perfect with just a little discipline So I ll settle on 4 1 2 stars for now That may go up to 5 if I m still thinking about the characters a week or two from now Edited on 1 December 2012 Well, a week on and I am still thinking about the characters and missing the world of the novel I ve amended the rating to 5 stars.

  7. says:

    Including some status updates material in this Not even at the halfway point yet, but I am so baffled and dismayed I love Byatt loved Possession like everyone else, but I schooled myself to love the Frederica Potter quartet and other novels too , this book is all about topics I love, and so it totally should be my jam, as the kids say, and.instead it s like the dire moment in Little Women when Meg wails about how the jelly won t jell I think the biggest problem is the characters some critics compared this to Middlemarch, but Middlemarch is all _about_ its characters, who leap immediately to mind the idealistic Dorothea, the vulnerable Lydgate, wild Will, vengeful Causabon, each face and personality rendered distinct The relative flatness of people in Possession didn t matter because it was a satire, and the amount of satire in the Frederica Quartet contrasted with some real tragedies, like Jude Mason s carried those people fairly well Frederica was that very odd thing, a self portrait intended to provoke dislike Byatt seems to specialize in that Also, there were a LOT FEWER people in even the Quartet books It s not so much that there are too many people in this novel although there are but they re really not differentiated If I have to keep reminding myself Phyllis is not Dorothy Phyllis is the pretty shallow one, Dorothy is the studious friend of Tom, Tom is his mother s favourite, Julian is.Geraint no no that is not a good thing Byatt is, like Lawrence whom I cannot escape, and cannot love , Murdoch Byatt s moral and aesthetic ideal , even, dare I say, Drabble, and certainly Lessing, one of those most frustrating writers a naturally gifted novelist who keeps wrenching Story around to serve Theme.This is especially bad in Byatt because when she includes bits of retold myths, or children s stories, or pastiche poetry, you at once relax into what she s telling you it feels free and unstrained in a way all that carefully glossy worked over prose doesn t In Possession, which was a story about people entranced by stories, and had much less of that writing is bad for families and especially mothers and really especially children crap in it, it all worked But as she herself said, she knew people would love Possession she considers it lesser She loves writing these long strenuous brain taxing half nonfiction catalogues.She really is like Lawrence her gift plays free in short stories, devastating and wonderful, but she puts it into harness and blinders writing anything at length To top it off, neither the potted history, which should provide the grand dark and gold illuminated backdrop for the flat people, nor the close ups on the richly decorated plates, embroidered dresses and kimonos, building ornaments and so on, are distinct enough for me to picture, so it all winds up being a kind of grand sounding blur Possession had the anchor of the actual poetry and academic papers and fairytales and letters they were the actual backbone of the story Here, the interludes of Olive s children s tales serve mainly to remind what a good writer Byatt is when she isn t dragging us by the hand around her own whistle stop tour of Cultural History I remember vaguely learning in grad school about the Morris wallpapers and chairs and carpets and tapestries and hangings and whatever else the Pre Raphs churned out like medieval factories, but I know nothing about pottery and can t visualize it and so don t really care This is disastrous, as pottery is one of the main Themes of the book.

  8. says:

    Viste le mie esperienze precedenti con l autrice, lo inizio con grande gioia Siamo nel 1895, agli albori di quello che diventer il Victoria and Albert Museum, quel luogo veramente inarrivabile di godimenti e delizie Arbasino, Fratelli d Italia, capitolo Londra molti anni prima, anche il primo romanzo del quartetto di Frederica Potter, La vergine nel giardino, iniziava in un museo la National Portrait Gallery.E quindi la decorazione l arte applicata alla vita, la bellezza inseparabile dall utilit , l artigianato degli oggetti e l artigianato delle parole tutte le cose hanno forme visibili e invisibili Ambiente di fabiani, socialisti, anarchici, artisti, scrittrici di fiabe, aleggia William Morris tanti bambini, grandi case in campagna, lontano dal pazzo smog cittadino Grandissimo numero di personaggi, grandi scene di massa, come quella che ruota intorno alla festa di mezz estate mascherata, rappresentazione, teatro, marionette che mettono in scena Hoffmann mi viene in mente il primo romanzo La vergine nel giardino, che ruotava intorno a una testo da mettere in scena Nella concezione della letteratura come possibilit di vivere pi vite, e ancor meglio di scriverle e di leggerle dunque di viverne un essenza, di vivere un pieno di significati, un pieno mutevole che pu vestire anche le spoglie dell insensatezza e del vuoto, del nulla, del disgusto, ma resta sempre pieno di significati, ambigui, disambiguabili e interminabili in questa concezione Byatt gioca da sempre la carta rischiosa ma potenzialmente, facilmente ricca, della molteplicit di vite e di scritture dispiegate gi all interno della singola opera.E quindi i figli di Olive hanno ciascuno un libro di storie personale, decorato, con vicende potenzialmente infinite, che si intrecciano alla loro vita D altra parte, la reazione di Olive a qualunque spettacolo, a qualunque lavoro artistico, era il desiderio di produrne un altro, di produrne uno tutto suo.E cos abbondano collegamenti, citazioni, riflessioni, riscritture sulla tradizione di fiabe e racconti per bambini Grimm, Perrault, Pinocchio, Andersen E predomina la descrizione e la riflessione interiore sul dialogo I personaggi sono presentati con racconto della famiglia, origini sociali e culturali, amicizie, vicende precedenti niente flussi di coscienza o parole incongrue apparse improvvisamente da un fitto tessuto interiore c un narratore molto saldo e consapevole che controlla tutto, dentro e fuori i personaggi Olive e Violet sono figlie di minatore continuo contrasto sovrapposizione implicazione reciproca tra industria modernit carbone sporco povert e campagna decorazione utopia bellezza fiabe letteratura E cos le storie raccontate dal padre, storie di miniera, di profondit nella terra, di metamorfosi foreste in carbone, vegetali e animali in palle di carbone diventano le storie di fiabe di profondit , mondi sotterranei, realt continuamente cangianti, creature ambigue raccontate da Olive view spoiler Sia il fratello Petey sia il padre Peter sono scomparsi, inghiottiti dalla miniera, storia originaria, non raccontata, accantonata deliberatamente e narrativamente hide spoiler

  9. says:

    The Children s Book gives the reader a big and sprawling story It centers around Humphrey and Olive Wellwood, living in a big house called Todefright love that name , and all their kids, friends, neighbors and other people that impact their life But most of all their kids There s quite a lot of historical background to all of this, and the main focus is on art communities and women s rights The book spans from around 1885 to the end of the First World War.We get to meet a great variety of characters struggling with different life challenges Most of them are artistic and or politically active, and they give us many different perspectives to delve into And Byatt writes children very well But there are simply too many characters for everyone s story to be properly fleshed out The focus shifts from one to another as the pages turn, and although some get attention than others, there aren t really any clear main characters that we get to follow consistently throughout the book One thing I really liked, though, is that we get to see most characters both from the inside, and through the eyes of others Byatt pulls this of pretty well.The book is filled with long passages describing glazed pots, drawings, colors and textures, nature, puppet theater, etc etc., and Olive, the matriarch of the Wellwood family, writes fairy tales, some of which the reader gets to sample To my mind, Byatt is a lot better at making up new fairy tales than she is at writing fake Victorian poetry Possesion was a dnf for me.All the lush descriptions of form and color in this book made me want to draw again, for the first time in ages which is great But all the historical background that we are also presented with reads mostly like long passages of non fiction This fleshed out the background and society, but often made the book a dense, slow read, and making a dent in it felt difficult.So when I decided on only three stars for this book, that s mainly because most of it felt like a drag to read In between exciting and interesting passages where we get to delve into the mind and feelings of a character, there were a lot of history and surface events just time moving along, really I wanted to know what would happen to everybody, but getting there was a real chore This is a good novel, but at the same time it is often boring, and structurally it s a bit of a mess.

  10. says:

    In my reading of this I alternated between deep admiration of Byatt and deep irritation with her She has put all the force of her prodigious talent into burying the threads of two or three really interesting novels of reasonable length in this over sized book In a way, it is like a vast tapestry of the cultural movements in England, and to some extent Germany, from 1895 to 1919 with fascinating personal stories that can be perceived if you peer up close , but really it s of a vast tangled mess, bogged down with interminable descriptions, leaden fairy tales, bland discourses on history and cultural and artistic movements We are never allowed to forget Byatt s erudition for a moment And yet some of the characters are so very haunting It s intensely frustrating that this is not a leaner, better book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Children's BookShortlisted For The Man Booker PrizeA 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 LovesWhen 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 FriendsBut The Joyful Bacchanals Olive Hosts At Her Rambling Country House And The Separate, Private Books She Writes For Each Of Her Seven Children Conceal 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 EndTaking 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

About the Author: A.S. Byatt

Margaret Drabble, over the alleged appropriation of a family tea set in one of her novels The pair seldom see each other and each does not read the books of the other.Married1st, 1959, Ian Charles Rayner Byatt Sir I C R Byatt marriage dissolved 1969 one daughter one son deceased 2nd, 1969, Peter John Duffy two daughters.EducationSheffield High School The Mount School, York Newnham College, Cambridge BA Hons Hon Fellow 1999 Bryn Mawr College, Philadelphia, USA Somerville College, Oxford.Academic Honours Hon Fellow, London Inst., 2000 Fellow UCL, 2004Hon DLitt Bradford, 1987 DUniv York, 1991 Durham, 1991 Nottingham, 1992 Liverpool, 1993 Portsmouth, 1994 London, 1995 Sheffield, 2000 Kent 2004 Hon LittD Cambridge, 1999PrizesThe PEN Macmillan Silver Pen Of Fiction prize, 1986 for STILL LIFEThe Booker Prize, 1990, for POSSESSIONIrish Times Aer Lingus International Fiction Prize, 1990 for POSSESSIONThe Eurasian section of Best Book in Commonwealth Prize, 1991 for POSSESSIONPremio Malaparte, Capri, 1995 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, California, 1998 for THE DJINN IN THE NIGHTINGALE S EYEShakespeare Prize, Toepfer Foundation, Hamburg, 2002 Publications The Shadow of the Sun, 1964 Degrees of Freedom, 1965 reprinted as Degrees of Freedom the early novels of Iris Murdoch, 1994 The Game, 1967 Wordsworth and Coleridge in their Time, 1970 reprinted as Unruly Times Wordsworth and Coleridge in their Time, 1989 Iris Murdoch 1976The Virgin in the Garden, 1978 GEORGE ELIOT Selected Essays, Poems and Other Writings , 1979 editor Still Life, 1985Sugar and Other Stories, 1987 George Eliot selected essays, 1989 editor Possession a romance, 1990Robert Browning s Dramatic Monologues, 1990 editor Passions of the Mind, essays , 1991 Angels and Insects novellae ,1992The Matisse Stories short stories ,1993 The Djinn in the Nightingale s Eye five fairy stories, 1994Imagining Characters, 1995 joint editor New Writing 4, 1995 joint editor Babel Tower, 1996 New Writing 6, 1997 joint editor The Oxford Book of English Short Stories, 1998 editor Elementals Stories of fire and ice short stories , 1998 The Biographer s Tale, 2000 On Histories and Stories essays , 2000 Portraits in Fiction, 2001 The Bird Hand Book, 2001 Photographs by Victor Schrager Text By AS Byatt A Whistling Woman, 2002Little