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The Children's Book

by A S Byatt

Children's author, Olive Wellwood, creates a golden Edwardian story book world for her children at Todefright where the adults discuss socialism, free love and emancipation. But life is not as it seems. Olive's personality crushes her children and the parents' unconventional sexual lives rupture the family's security. The children become casualties of parental selfishness and the horrors of war. A rich book for serious-minded readers to relish.

Extract

Tom and Dorothy and Phyllis stood on the stairs listening, ready to scurry up to the bedrooms before they were caught. They heard the sentences they always heard.
'I have always tried to love all your children equally, you cannot say I have not. It has not been easy, though you may think it has. You do not thank me.'
'I might say the same. You cannot say I distinguish your children from my own. All of them have their place, equally, equally ....'

Parallels

Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
The Go Between by L P Hartley
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
 

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