Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Children's Book and The Go-between

Emily asked me to let you know if I thought AS Byatt’s The Children’s Book would be a suitable one for the Blog. So briefly, I loved it but think it is far too long for TIS, both in length of time reading ( over 600 tightly packed and densely written pages) and our ability to do any justice to so much writing. But I am very happy to lend it to anyone who fancies reading it.

The story is set at the turn of the 20 century and follows a group of young people up to the disaster of WW1. She ranges through factual politics, social history, suffragists, art history (from HG Well to Art Nouveau), the formation of the V&A, cultural links with Germany, puppetry, the golden age of children’s books etc etc. It takes some getting in to, but then I found myself enmeshed in the various lives and could hardly put it down. If you didn’t like Possession, I suggest you give this a miss as Byatt uses the same technique of writing what she’s writing about – thus here great chunks of children’s fables.

But a suggestion I do have for the Blog is The Go-between, LP Hartley, if others haven’t read it. I’m sure Sue and Valerie have, like me, seen the Julie Christie film, but I’ve never read the book. There was an interesting rereading review in the Guardian 18.6.11 by Ali Smith which I’m sure is on-line and which I recommend.