ursula: (Default)
[personal profile] ursula
The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt more or less ate my weekend. It was satisfying; I'm not sure one can say that a book where most of the characters come of age just in time for World War I is enjoyable, exactly. It was also familiar, in several senses.

The easy sense, of course, is that I have read a lot of Byatt. Topics accumulate: the allure of utopian artistic projects, the creepiness of utopian artistic projects, characters looking for satisfying work, unexpected pregnancies, Victorian fairy stories.

I grew up reading E. Nesbit (follower of William Morris, member of the Fabian Society, successful writer for children, obvious counterpart to the fictional Olive Wellwood), and of course my mother was writing her own stories for children. Byatt's Wellwoods are very close to the way I imagined myself as a child, closer than imaginary 1980s children were or are. We grow up different, though-- my sense of direct identity waned as the book went on and the children pursued their own, separate lives. This is one of the things I like most about Byatt, actually, the way her characters can be stuck in a particular emotional whirlpool, and then find themselves somewhere quite different with the passage of time. I am perhaps alone among reviewers of The Children's Book in wishing that the story had been longer, that more of these twists had had time to play out.

September 2017

345 6789

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags