Friday, November 01, 2013

Book Review: The Children's Book

It is no secret that I love big books. I really do. I prefer long sagas with intricate plots that seemingly go nowhere. Some of my very favorite novels hundreds of pages long. Examples include: Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follet,  The Mists of Avalon, by, and  The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova.

{Source: Goodreads}

The Children's Book,  written by A. S. Byatt easily fits into my list of favorites. She weaves a tale of a family spanning from the Victorian Era during a major upheaval period for the world: World War I. In this novel, we follow the family of Olive Wellwood, a children's book author who writes a small book for each of her children, her family, and their extended social network.

Through Mrs. Wellwood's stories, we see love, joy, betrayal, friendship, and any number of other emotions. We watch the children grow up, the men go off to war, and the evolving relationship between adults whose friendships are more complicated than many realize. We witness heartbreak in an open-marriage, and distrust from children who discover that fact. We watch as a main character is betrayed beyond what he could have imagine, and by the person he trusted the most.

What I love about this novel is that it is real. For the same reasons we all watched Downton Abbey are why I love this novel. It is a full plot, and the intricate connections between people's life stories are engrossing. It shows us that despite what our history books tell us, the problems we face today, and which seem so prevalent in modern society are not really such new problems. It is an illustration of this journey that we call life, and is impeccably detailed by Byatt in a mesmerizing way.

You'll most certainly need some time for this novel, but the time is worth it. Byatt has created a masterful narrative full of well-developed characters and rich prose. You won't be disappointed.

What have you read lately?

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